“Fashion is not necessarily about labels, it’s not about brands — it’s about something else that comes from within you,” once said famed American designer Ralph Lauren. Despite this, many creatives with an incredible vision and talent have been forced out of the fashion industry due to its notoriously difficult nature and constant turnover, an environment that doesn’t suit itself to everyone. But for NYC-based creative Rocco Valentine, the oft-unwelcoming industry gave him the chance to evolve his inherent positivity to new heights in response: a much-needed infectious energy he spreads to everyone he encounters on set.
As a game-changer of the e-commerce industry, where Valentine made a name for himself bringing his fresh perspective in styling to well-known brands like Urban Outfitters and Garage Clothing, the creative’s optimistic outlook made him a huge asset at every photoshoot beyond his expert touch to clothing. Valentine’s unmistakable vibrance helped elevate everyone on set to perform their tasks with zeal, something clearly evident in the resulting beautiful images captured — not to mention the incredible community he’s created throughout these long but fun work days.
“I wouldn’t be where I am today without the motivation of my network and the inspiration I get from everyone I work with; art directors, hair stylist, makeup artist, models, photographers, etc.,” reminisced Valentine. “Everyone leaves an inspiring impression on you that allows you to keep always thinking creatively and pushing forward with your work. It’s like one big family that’s cheering you on. I’m proud to be a part of that family.”
Particularly dear to his heart are the close relationships Valentine has developed with models during the course of his nine years in the industry, and with good reason. As regular prey to the capricious fashion industry and the dark figures that lurk in the shadows of nightlife, models are particularly vulnerable to New York City’s chew you up and spit you out mentality — just not when Valentine’s gentle guidance comes into play.
Acting as a mother hen to these girls, Valentine nourishes their blossoming into confident young women with his direct advice on where to go, who to mingle with and who to avoid, and most importantly, what to wear. Bestowing his fashion wisdom into styling models for their important events and nights out on the town, Valentine’s shoulder to lean on helps them make a lasting good impression on the New York fashion scene at large.
In the face of an unfriendly industry, Valentine has been a breath of fresh air to all those he encounters in the fashion world, and everyone has something to learn from this true role model on the kind of enthusiasm and optimism to strive for in both work and life alike.
Advertising disclosure: We may receive compensation for some of the links in our stories. Thank you for supporting LA Weekly and our advertisers.