Reigning Champ of Swim Andrea Iyamah Channels Childhood Memories


Andrea Iyamah Autumn 2018 Campaign featuring Oluchi Orlandi / Photo Courtesy @andreaiyamah


LAGOS, Nigeria - Andrea Iyamah’s Autumn 2018 campaign puts its iconic swimwear silhouettes front and center of sentimental backdrops inspired by its creative director Dumebi Iyamah’s “fondest memories as a Nigerian child.”

Shot by Kadara Enyeasi and featuring none other than legendary Nigeria supermodel Oluchi Orlandi, the campaign released this month showcases bright new color ways - vibrant berry, electric lilac, and graphic blue - alongside children in Yaba, a neighborhood in Lagos, engaged in highly relatable activities - people watching, playing traditional games, and the ever constant wait in a hair braider’s chair. It is an intimate way to introduce an emotional factor into her contemporary brand founded in 2013 and is part of a necessary storytelling to elevate the brand in the eyes of the consumer.

This isn’t the first time Iyamah has utilized everyday scenes to draw inspiration or inform her designs that also include resort-wear and bridal. Her social account is flooded with snapshots of market life resplendent with multi-colored umbrellas, photographs of Nigerian women in the 1970s, references to Malick Sidibé, West African hair braiding in the Irun Kiko style that translates to “hair knotting with thread” or even traditions from within the diaspora such as Candomblé in Salvador, Bahia and works by American-born artists Henry Taylor and William H. Johnson. It is a myriad of cultural references, but ultimately it is all reflective of black culture. This digital mood boarding incorporates an important element of authenticity (that ties in nicely with the Autumn 2018 campaign) and aligns with Iyamah’s mission to “ensure that stories are told through every piece created.”

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Another ingredient of the brand’s success thus far is the naming of each piece - from the incredibly popular TONGA Bikini Top to newer styles like the IMAN Jumpsuit, it allows the consumer to know what to ask for and what to rely upon. Iyamah is certainly not the first to do so, but she does so consistently - updating popular styles with new fabrics - further gaining the trust of her target consumer. A large part of that consistency comes from staying in her wheelhouse. Whether by the beach or the pool, Iyamah wants to accompany her clients where they find leisure in their lives. It is a distinct proposition from a Nigerian brand like Iyamah’s. Other competitors in the space include OKUN serving men’s swim and Bantu Wax geared towards surf culture. She has also made distinct aesthetic choices, such as incorporating underwire into her swimsuits, which ensures greater structure and support for a broader array of body sizes. Her racerback bikini tops or high cut bottoms infuse a touch of glamour that can make one’s holiday getaway ultra memorable.

With hyper visible tastemakers like Zainab Balogun and Asiyami Gold amongst her loyal following, Iyamah is fast approaching a place where her aesthetic is becoming recognizably her own. The campaign raises her visual storytelling up a degree and cements the aspirational base to her growing brand.