"ROUBLEAU: Fit For A King" is an article featured in ISSUE 05 of SUSPEND Magazine available to purchase here themed "Strong Women." Interview and photography by Diane Abapo.
DIANE: Hi Janae! I just re-visited these photographs of you, King, and Mateo at my spot in Downtown. It’s been a few months and I’m curious to know: What are the new happenings with Roubleau since I last saw you?
"Roubleau launched late 2014. Since then, we have expanded the entire collection. Look forward to a much larger selection forthcoming this fall."
Can you walk us through the beginning of Roubleau, your very own children’s clothing line? When was the moment of your brand’s conception?
"Absolutely! I had been designing one offs for King himself since 2009. Then, these pieces weren’t considered one offs at least to me rather. I was just executing ideas that weren’t already on the market as a frustrated mother. These were ideas I had for my son that labels weren’t providing. Parents began to reach out to me in regards to King’s wardrobe, along with strangers on the street. In 2011, I began to customize “one offs” for friends and family by request. It became an enjoyment for me as a relatable parent. After only so many prototypes, I wanted to share a collection that everyone could have access to. No more slanging pieces via email and word of mouth! Perfect timing to set up shop. In between sourcing fabrics, samples, perfecting samples into actual garments, details, fits, campaigns, etc. etc. Roubleau launched the very first collection September of 2014, consisting of eight unisex pieces. I used my time wisely and produced something that would not be forgotten. I’m sure the conception of Roubleau sounds ideal. Remember, anything beautiful is an actual nightmare during the process. Otherwise, I am extremely pleased with the success of my very own line moving forward."
Are you running Roubleau by yourself or do you have a team? The reason I ask is because SUSPEND started off as a lone venture and slowly through the years, I’ve acquired a small family of contributors and staff members who have helped formulate the magazine more in-depth. From a business woman to another business woman, I know you can relate to how protective we can be in handling all aspects of a business operation. Has it been the same for you?
"Protective and particular. I operate Roubleau by myself. I have an artist, in which I work closely with by the name of Christian Sanchez. As well as a lovely assistant, Xayna Anderson. Both awesome individuals! As Roubleau expands, so will the team."
What are some challenges and hurdles you have come across as a business owner?
"Personally, I haven’t reached any as a business owner. Well, nothing I can’t handle."
Taking it back even further, what was your childhood like and where did you grow up?
"I grew up in Los Angeles, California. Growing up, hair and wardrobe were a huge form of expression. Typically, you can grasp how I am or anyone is feeling based upon hair and wardrobe. It’s the easiest alternative to translate how you’re feeling within. Although, there were times where my confidence was deliberately misconstrued because I’ve always dressed for comfort. It was pretty sweet being raised by a young woman such as my mother who was very understanding. She never limited my freedom of expression. My mother was actually encouraging of an open mind and exposed me to many different aspects."
Who are your female role models (both past and present)?
"I don’t really have any female role models."
How important is it to have ambition and goals?
"It is imperative. I may be speaking for myself, unless anyone else can relate. I know both work hand in hand. Ultimately, sanity is affected by not having any ambition to meet your goals."
Delving into the aesthetics of Roubleau, what is the overall message behind the pieces that have been debuted so far?
"Raw day to day statement pieces. The up to date debuted collection is to be worn often, but not washed nearly as much. It’s that pullover joint the kids want to wear everyday in several different ways or denim, t-shirt, shorts, whichever choice from the selection. I do it! I’m sure I’m not the only individual or kid that owns a piece/s that’s worn multiple times throughout the week. Upon day, you express it differently. With simplicity and a mixture of dark and creamy tones, I was able to communicate my message."
Tell us about King, who quickly melted my heart during our shoot. Not only is he energetic and full of confidence, but he’s also quite the entertainer! Has he been a big force in you creating Roubleau?
"King is Roubleau. King has roles. Such as my silent partner, fit model, graphic designer and marketing director. He enjoys sharing Roubleau with anyone in whom he comes in contact with. Basically, we can refer to him as the boss though. He gets the final say by checking things off. I highly value his opinion as a six year old boy. He is the voice for all children. The luxury of having him by my side to ask for a kids approval is nice. “How do you like the texture of this fabric?” No pressure! King is completely honest and very opinionative. I don’t ever have any worries in that department. King’s contributions are highly appreciated. From his reliable energy on set that makes the rest of the kids comfortable to the “ROUBLEAU WAS HERE” branding. Nothing is overlooked! Roubleau is a reflection of King as he is a reflection of me."
When you think about children’s clothing, you ultimately think about comfort and ease-of-wear. I initially noticed how well King wore the Roubleau pieces you dressed him in, and even when he was jumping and dancing around the room, the outfit he wore seemed almost like a second skin. As a fashionable person yourself, what prompted you to want to debut a clothing line for children?
"Here’s the thing: comfort and ease of wear is cool. The way I went about designing and constructing these pieces is what makes them seem almost like a second skin. Certain cuts and seams define comfort. I was once a disappointed mother shopping for children labels that lack detail. That is aside from the abundance of clothes in the massive girls section as appose to the boys in almost every boutique. I don’t care to provide more tutu’s for girls. I rather go the boys route or unisex. In which, I went unisex. The garments lean more towards boys because I want to see more girls transition their style."
What are your most-prized pieces in your closet?
"Silk robes, silk pants, Atomaton sweatpants, Maje leather cargos, 70’s suede leather fur coat, Miharayasuhiro pants, Best Wishes t-shirts."
Where do you feel most SUSPEND-ed, ie. lose track of time, feel most in the zone?
"I feel most SUSPEND-ed in my own vortex throughout the peaceful evening or even during the day while King is at school. I’m referring to my cave aka my house where the lighting is perfect. There isn’t any noise that can take away from my energy."
To view the article in its entirety with more exclusive photographs of Janae Roubleau (and Mateo Berry, close friend), purchase ISSUE 05 here.