With the power to uplift whoever he sought fit, Roach chose an entire cast of Black creatives. He took to Instagram to share the experience, saying: “No rules! No advertisers! You allowed me a BLACK stylist to creative direct an editorial with my beautiful BLACK muse Zendaya and feature clothing from all BLACK designers, shoes from all BLACK shoe designers, jewels from all BLACK jewellery designers, we feature BLACK art from BLACK artists.” Roach goes on to thank the photography duo AB + DM for shooting the cover, hair stylist Larry Jara Sims, and makeup artist Sheika Daley. He also gave a shout-out to Zerina Akers, a celebrity stylist (whose clients include Beyoncé and Chloe x Halle) and the founder of Black Owned Everything, which is a resource for discovering Black brands and businesses, for introducing him to new Black fashion labels that he then was able to feature in the editorial. “I’m so proud of this one!!!!” Law concluded the caption.
On the cover, Zendaya wears a red-and-maroon satin dress by Black stylist and designer Jason Rembert’s ready-to-wear line Aliétte. Paired with the dress is jewelry by NYC-based brand Mateo. Mateo jewelry is also featured in a stunning horizontal shot of Zendaya, in which she’s wearing an eye-catching plaid frock courtesy of CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund winner Christopher John Rogers. In a photo posted by InStyle, Law Roach can be seen styling Zendaya wearing a surgical mask, Gucci sunglasses, and Nike x Sacai sneakers.
The publication additionally posted a video taken from the shoot that includes footage of the 23-year-old strutting in Pyer Moss, posing dramatically in Hanifa, and lounging on a modern sectional in Thebe Magugu, among other activities. Romeo Hunte, Victor Glemaud, Brother Vellies, Tori Soudan, and Cushnie are some of the other Black designers featured in the shoot.
Historically, fashion magazine covers have featured predominantly white women, been shot almost entirely by white photographers, and, therefore have told mostly white stories. For instance, at Vanity Fair, it took more than a century (106 years to be exact) for a Black photographer to shoot the publication’s glossy cover. But while Vanity Fair featuring Viola Davis on the cover of its August 2020 issue and hiring its first-ever Black photographer in Dario Calmese to shoot it hardly means the job is done, it does generate a feeling of excitement for a better, more racially-inclusive fashion industry in the future. Things are changing. Zendaya’s InStyle cover, as well as Davis’s Vanity Fair cover, Kerry Washington’s Town & Country cover, and British Vogue’s September issue, are proof of that. “Look at the magic we can create when someone gives us the opportunity,” said Law. “Thank you Laura Brown and the entire InStyle team for giving me a safe (from COVID-19) space to create.”