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Some of our favorite things in life are items that can pull double duty.
A tint you can wear on both your cheeks and your lips, or a dress that can be casual but also work for fancy occasions. So, when we found out that designer Andrea Iyamah was collaborating with alcohol brand Plume & Petal to create a bucket hat that can transform into a cooler, we couldn't believe the brilliance — or how perfect it was for our summer and early fall celebrations.
"We wanted to do something unique and different, and conceptualized a new take on a summer staple, the bucket hat, to give fashion lovers everywhere a two-in-one accessory that's a perfect case for [Plume & Petal's] new canned cocktails," Iyamah tells InStyle over email. "I was inspired by their fruit-forward flavors — Peach, Lemon, and Cucumber — and the brand's aesthetic, as it mirrors a few of my brand's own designs."
Unsurprisingly, a hat like this is the first of its kind and a true innovation — something that the designer, who is well known for her swimsuits and resortwear, is especially proud of.
"While the concept was unconventional and the process unlike anything I've ever done before, it was an incredible opportunity to create something new to market that is both stylish and functional," she says. "The bucket hat features a detachable waterproof insert to keep your spritzes cool on-the-go — and when you're finished with your drinks, you can simply remove the insert and wear the hat again!"
If you, like us, can't wait to get your hands on your own ice bucket hat, which retails for $135, you can place an order now on reservebar.com. And, if you're curious about Iyamah, whose gorgeous designs have been seen on everyone from Michelle Obama to Kate Hudson and Halle Berry? You can check out the rest of our conversation, including how she would style this unique piece and what's next for the brand, ahead.
This bucket hat is such a unique piece. How would you personally style it?
What I love about this hat is that it truly is a versatile number! You can go from a casual look — like a T-shirt and jean short combination — to something more classy. You can easily pair it with a neutral palette to add a pop of color and freshness to your ensemble, or go all out and style with other colorful swim, resort or summery pieces (and don't be afraid to mix prints!). I think it's the perfect accessory across seasons.
Your swimsuits are everywhere right now. What does it feel like to have so many people obsessing over your designs?
I really appreciate all the women who wear A.I, who I honestly call my 'treasures' — they are the ones I design for. I appreciate that women can express themselves in multiple ways, as our pieces are quite expressive through the colors we choose. We want to easily fit into a woman's lifestyle, and cater to the woman who is adventurous both in their mindset and approach to life. A.I is definitely for the woman who wants a statement piece. It is very important we design with small details in mind that make women feel good. It's fun being able to execute different designs every season in multiple ways and still maintain the excitement thinking about the women I design for.
There’s a long list of iconic women who have worn your stuff. Has there been anyone who really shocked you or gave you that “I made it” moment?
There have been a lot of amazing women that have worn A.I. The most significant moment for me was when Michelle Obama wore Andrea Iyamah. I was excited because she wore our bright yellow 'Charming' swimsuit on vacation. That was a beautiful moment for me because she is someone I am greatly inspired by, both for her personality as well as the impact she's made all over the world. It was great to see her kick back and relax in one of my pieces, and realize a dream of mine has come true. It is a moment I will cherish for a long time.
Has there been a specific piece that’s your ultimate favorite thing you’ve designed? What would you recommend to someone who is new to your brand?
I love so many things that I create, but the design I am most proud of is the 'Takwa' dress that we reimagined for our SS21 collection into the 'Nali' robe. It is a very versatile dress that can easily be worn from day to night — it works as a loose-fitting bubble sleeve dress, and can also be transformed into a wrap dress. We've created that dress in many colors — orange, green, black and this season, we also introduced a rich, lemony-green color. That is one of my ultimate favorite designs we've created at A.I!
The great thing about A.I is that we offer accessories, swimwear, clothing, and bridal looks. It really depends on your personality and current needs. If you're a little skeptical about prints, I would recommend going with one our solid color swimwear options, such as the 'Amina' swimsuit, which also works well as a top. Most A.I swimwear can double as a beautiful top. Then for someone who loves prints – there are so many printed styles to consider! If you are looking for a bright, classic summery piece, I love the Sari one-piece swimsuit because it's classy and simple, yet features a premium print, which I believe also works really well with the bucket hat we've designed for Plume and Petal.
Where do you get your inspiration from, or is it different every time?
Nature is my biggest source of inspiration. I'm from Nigeria, West Africa, and growing up around so much greenery and all-around just beautiful scenery has influenced the collections and pieces I've created to date. I tend to draw my inspiration from nature and cultures around the world, not just African cultures. I tend to learn a lot about the history of wherever I'm designing and gleaning inspiration from. Sometimes, I'm just inspired by the little things I see around me. We're very excited about our next resort collection coming out in November, where we have once again pulled inspiration from nature. We will be exploring mushrooms and a unique take on the shapes and inspiration that we find in the natural world.
It differs. Sometimes inspiration is personal to me, while other times it can be from a social source. I always try and make sure that I explore or delve into unique subject areas through my designs, while simultaneously honoring the cultural story that I want to tell and representing all the beauty in the world that I wholeheartedly believe in. I'm a very spiritual person. I tend to connect with my environment and spirit to make sure that my pieces evoke a great sense of positivity, be it through color, design, or silhouettes.
What’s next for you? Is there a big goal you’re working toward right now?
I'm really particular about my collaborations, and only do them if I feel super invested in them and think that it'd be something that my fans would also gravitate towards. This particular collaboration was super exciting to me because it not only allowed me to flex my skills to create something new to market, but also fuses the worlds of entertaining and fashion by tapping into the lifestyle trend of canned cocktails and the style trend of bucket hats. This experience has definitely further emphasized that I can rise to design challenges and I hope to do more of these collaborations in the near future.
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