Tell us a little bit about yourself & the brand.
I was born and raised in Nigeria but I currently live in Ontario, Canada. I am a Communications and Multimedia student at McMaster University. I have always had a passion for the arts until I later fell in love with fashion art and began my brand Andrea Iyamah at the age of 17.
How did you get into designing swimwear?
Andrea Iyamah began as a custom couture brand, specializing in detailed gowns for special occasions until I later took the advice of a friend who felt I would do fantastic as a swimwear designer.
What are the main influences behind your brand and your current designs?
I know I didn't want the typical two piece bikini so I took interest in the vintage style high waist bikini that flattered a woman's curves. With everything I do, I try to create an edge with each swimwear piece through its cuts, colors or silhouette. I believe swimwear should be fun, so mixing vintage, retro & ethnic together can be risky but only tests my creativity.
WHAT DEFINES YOUR PERFECT BIKINI?
My Perfect bikini is anything with an edge and of course one that flatters my figure.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU AS A DESIGNER?
Im inspired by people, stages or experiences that I have been through or going through in my life. Every collection is named after a stage in my life, for instance my last swimwear collection was named after the bright personality of my father. I tried to be up to date with the works of other designers, such as Elie Saab - my biggest inspiration, for my custom couture pieces. I am always trying to challenge and compete with myself, it's the best way I get things done.
BEST ADVICE SOMEONE HAS GIVEN YOU THAT HAS KEPT YOU GOING & GROWING?
My family is definitely my back bone especially in times when school work and life in general get a little difficult to manage. The best advice I've been given is "Things don't just work out...you make things work." Every time I remember that i remember that the only person who can determine my success is me!
"GO-TO" SPOT FOR A WEEKEND GET-A-WAY?
I live in Hamilton Ontario, it's a fairly quiet place but I found an amazing spot calledSarcoa located near the bay front. It's the type of place for the perfect summer evening with your best girlfriends.
Don't really have a favorite beach, have too many!!!
YOUR IDEA OF HAPPINESS?
My idea of happiness is being comfortable and content with myself and the ones you love
TOP 3 SONGS ON YOUR SUMMER PLAYLIST?
- Little Talks - Of Monsters and Men
- Thirteen Thirtyfive - Dilion
- Locked out of heaven - Bruno Mars
Where can Haute Street viewers find Andrea Iyamah swimwear?
IF YOU COULD PICK A MUSE TO WEAR YOUR DESIGNS WHO WOULD IT BE?
Rihanna or Solange Knowles. Rihanna for the edgy pieces and Solange for the more tribal pieces.
WHAT CAN WE LOOK FORWARD TO IN ANDREA IYAMAH SWIMWEAR FOR 2014?
I am super excited for next year's swimwear collection. I'm still sticking to the retro style but putting a twist on the prints. I'm taking inspiration from back home in Nigeria. I'll be visiting my hometown/village for print and style inspiration.