Wild Ones: Derek Lam, Jan-Hendrik Schlottmann & Roscoe
The fashion designer and entrepreneur’s favorite collaboration has been raising their beloved, bewhiskered Irish Terrier.
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Derek Lam and Jan-Hendrik Schlottmann have been partners in life and work for nearly two decades, building Lam’s eponymous label, then contemporary line 10 Crosby — which has defined the modern look of a generation with clothes that are at once elevated and effortless. The award-winning designer has dressed everyone from Beyoncé to Michelle Obama, but his most fetching model may just be the couple’s Irish Terrier, Roscoe. The dapper dog has been behind-the-scenes at the atelier, fittings, photo shoots, and even starred in a Barneys Window display. Schlottmann recently launched Câllas Milano, a reimagined luxury brand with sustainability cred — naturally Roscoe donned a floral printed scarf. We caught up with the family at their Gramercy Park apartment to talk about how, despite how prolific his dads are, Roscoe always seems to steal the show.
Tell me about Roscoe — how did this handsome boy come into your lives?
Derek: Jan and I had been talking on and off about getting a dog. I was really into getting a Wheaten Terrier so I contacted a breeder; they said the last Wheaten Terrier was spoken for but asked us if we would be interested in an Irish Terrier puppy and sent me an adorable photo of Roscoe. He had a big polka-dot bow on and was giving us the perfect side-eye. So we said no doubt: we need to get this dog.
He must have been the cutest puppy.
He was amazing...and he still is! I remember trying to train him when we were living in Soho — it was impossible to go down the street without people stopping us to pet him. We thought it was because he was a puppy — the cuteness factor — but throughout the last eight years he’s still stopped all the time because he just has such a wonderful demeanor and he looks a little cartoony. He’s a dog who people fall in love with. We can’t make it down the street without two or three people stopping us, literally.
He still looks so youthful. What’s his secret: diet, exercise?
He’s gotten a little more white in the face and has slowed down a bit. When he was a puppy he couldn’t get enough — he was always doing the zoomies. Irish Terriers have a lot of energy that needs to be spent. He’s very agile and there isn’t a squirrel in the city that has not been terrorized by Roscoe. He’s looking at me now because I said “squirrel.” Luckily we have a place on the beach where he gets to be off leash and run wild.
He acclimates easily to so many different environments, but we do go to the beach much more often because we know he gets antsy if he’s in the city for too long — he’s our excuse to spend more time at the beach. So he gets a balance of city and beach life, which I think helps a lot. In the city, he’s happy to chill, sitting on a bench, staring at passersby. It’s more his curiosity than his energy that needs to be satisfied at this age.
Dogs definitely help people maintain a healthy work/life balance. How else does he factor into your schedule?
I think our whole schedule is based around Roscoe [laughs]. All dogs I’m sure, but especially Roscoe because he’s such a sucker for routine. Which is great because it creates routine for me and breaks up my day. I’m definitely more aware of how much time I’m spending with him and not just going through a day of nonstop work — it’s really wonderful.
Sounds like he has the perfect temperament for an office and studio dog. Is his cuteness factor ever a distraction at model fittings or photo shoots?!
He always has to be the center of attention when we’re doing photo shoots in the studio, so he knows his way around a set. He’s actually amazing in front of the camera — I think he’s just intrigued by the person photographing him, so he kind of models a bit. I was pleasantly surprised by how cool he is about having his photo taken.
He just brings so much happiness to anybody who meets him — people go nuts over him and he goes nuts over them. And he’s fearless: If there is a cluster of women on a street corner, he invariably has to go up to them to get attention, with not only his tail wagging — it’s a whole body wag. He’s really personable and I think he enjoys the reaction, the kind of positive spirit, that he gets from people.
Roscoe was custom fit for a sweater a few years ago. Does he have a closet full of designer dogwear?
No, he’s a classic dog — he hates putting on clothes. He has amazing rain jackets and puffers from Wagwear, but he doesn’t seem to get very cold in the winter. He’s Irish! So we don’t dress him up much because he always looks so miserable. I wish I could turn him into an IG fashion dog but he prefers letting it all hang out [laughs].
Well, he looks pretty dapper in his Câllas scarf! I really admire Jan’s new brand’s ethos of sustainability over seasonality. I believe caring about animals and caring about the environment are interconnected.
There can be such a traditional culture of fashion, but the new awareness really has changed the whole point of view for the better. It’s about finding the balance between the old and the new — what is traditional and then what is more thoughtful, more careful, more conscious?
When you welcome any creature — human or animal — who’s vulnerable and depends on your guidance, it really broadens your awareness about everything, from the environment to animal cruelty. How do you make sure they are safe? Your first instinct is to protect them (in our case, Roscoe) and then that extends to having this protective instinct for the general population as well.
I think that’s one of the most important things I’ve learned since having Roscoe — just to be conscious of how do we make sure that this creature has the best life possible? When I first was interviewing trainers, I was asked, “What do you want to achieve with this training program?” I think the point was she wanted specifics, like potty-training or fetch or recall, but my response was, “I just want my dog to have the best life possible!” That was my goal from the beginning.
I think you’ve achieved that, and then some!
I hope so. Sometimes I feel guilty that we got a dog who might enjoy more time out in the country, but at the end of the day — we realized this during the pandemic — he’s happy just being with us and being part of the family. So we take him everywhere, which is perfectly fine by us. You can see the well-being of a pet if you spend time with them — when they’re stressed or relaxed or puzzled. It’s subtle what you can pick up without having the use of a shared language! That’s one of the most satisfying things: when you can answer what you think your dog is asking you — it’s just amazing to have that connection with an animal.
I always say, if there’s nothing else that reassures me about humans — because there’s a lot to wish that we could do better as a species — the fact that we raised dogs to have the best parts of our nature gives me comfort to know that humans can do a good thing [laughs]. Over the centuries, we’ve created a perfect creature. Loyalty, humor, fidelity, empathy — all the best things you want from another human is encapsulated in your pet. It’s incredible. So much of what humans have created — there’s a downside. I don’t think there’s a downside to dogs.
Definitely not. Dogs: humankind’s greatest achievement?!
Yes, exactly. Pretty close to perfect in my mind. So we have hope! [Laughs]
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Samantha Gurrie is The Wildest’s editorial director. She was previously the senior editor at NYLON magazine, co-publisher of Four&Sons, and director at Puerto Rican dog rescue The Sato Project. She lives in L.A. with her husband and rescue Pit Bull mix Midnight.