Marin Hopper brings a little Hollywood sparkle to the world of Amenities, collaborating with Clip Limited to provide Jet Blue Mint with Business Class Male and Female kits. Steeped in a history of glamour, Marin Hopper, daughter of actress-author Brooke Hayward and actor-photographer Dennis Hopper, launched her haute couture female accessories brand Hayward in Spring 2014, curating a store, Hayward House, on the Upper East Side to display and sell her beautiful designs. The launch of her male fashion brand, Hopper, inspired by her father, was soon to follow. I caught up with Marin to find out about the journey she went on to create the classic amenity kits that encapsulate the story of her two brands, Hayward & Hopper.
First of all, what inspired you to take on this project with JetBlue Mint?
Marin: I’m always travelling back and forth between California and New York with JetBlue Mint, especially whilst I was launching Hayward, doing factory visits etc., and a lot of my time is spent in airport terminals. Once you get through security, you’re a captive audience, and dependent on the food outlets, the retail and amusement of that terminal. It’s great to explore. And I felt that JetBlue terminals do a brilliant job of catering to an American audience with an American story. The Mint service is extraordinary, with your own pod, lovely duvet and half the price. It’s an extremely cost effective way to be comfortable when you’re flying. It’s an airline based on a story of ‘Made in New York’ which parallels to the story of ‘Hayward’ being ‘Made in the US’. It felt to me that there was a natural relationship there, particularly with the history of my grandfather, Leland Hayward, who was a famous pilot and had a great love for flying. He would fly from LA to New York on a regular basis, he co-founded Southwest Airways, and he helped invent the roll-up ladder for airplanes. I noticed when I was flying with JetBlue Mint that they were providing this fabulous service, but their amenity kits weren’t speaking to the experience you were having, so we pitched what we thought we could bring to their amenities, design-wise, using Hayward for the female amenity kits and Hopper for male amenity kits.
How did you find working with JetBlue Mint and adapting to this realm of design?
Marin: Jamie Perry from JetBlue Mint was our biggest support throughout the project. He initially brought us in for Hayward’s potential collaboration with the airline. Since day one, it felt as though they were very much our natural partner. I think it’s important to make sure you are working with people who are on brand for you, and JetBlue Mint shares a similar passion as Hayward with providing luxury rooted in American storytelling, so it was a perfect match. With Jamie championing us at JetBlue, and Cindy Lam from Clip Limited sourcing the necessary resources, we were able to do what we do best. Honestly, it’s not often you find such strong compatibility in such partnerships, but we were very lucky and ended up having a lot of fun.
How did you find the process of designing for amenity kits?
Marin: For the Hayward amenity kits, the process of design was relatively simple. We took inspiration from the Hayward denim dust bags that we use to package our products when being sold in store. They are made out of saturated navy blue denim and are something I’ve always considered to be typically American. I grew up in California, and denim was a big part of growing up there and the biggest style direction when I was young. You can dress it up, dress it down, jump on horse, go shopping. My mother wore it a lot. These soft denim dustbags that I had created for Hayward were getting and still do get a lot of attention. People re-use them a lot as totes or for putting their jewelry in when travelling. It made sense to take inspiration from them and their core American feel. We were lucky enough to source a good version of the material thanks to Cindy Lam at Clip Limited and then went on to study shapes and styles of bags. In the end, we came up with something simple and classic that could be used as a beautiful little bag that you can put in your tote bag with branding of the Hayward logo and an H zipper pull which is inspired by my grandfather’s designs with Cartier. Over the two-year period of designing JetBlue Mint’s amenity kits, we hope to create new variations every three months using branding from different artists and people that are a part of the story.
What challenges did you come across during the journey?
Marin: As I said previously, we had the core elements of Hayward, so the design ideas were easy –and I love to make bags so that was good! However, when you’re creating amenity kits, you are working in a very different financial structure. Our bags at Hayward are all made in New York with high quality materials etc. When you’re designing for an airline, there are other elements to take into consideration, including the restrictions with fire proofing and health & safety as well as the challenge to produce quality at a price. Finding quality products at a price is an interesting market, and one of my favourite topics. So we worked with JetBlue and Cindy to find an interpretation and use certain tools to make our aspirations come to life whilst working within a specific financial budget. My husband and our company CEO, John Goldstone, played an important part in delivering and translating Hayward’s message into a valuable interpretation whilst working within the confines of producing designs that are workable onboard. It was a fabulous challenge; the design process of remaking something in a different realm and manufacturing process. It was something very new to myself and John. Cindy Lam helped us interpret our desires, which started very much in the sphere of couture, and then we looked at the numbers and realised that imagination was essential. Cindy facilitated these compromises and was extraordinary at finding very well sourced materials that related to the vision of Hayward; for example, the zipper teeth are fabricated from plastic rather than metal. As we’ve moved forward, it’s obviously become a lot easier, we’ve begun to learn and understand the language and since the first generation of bags the content has become a lot more extensive.
What direction do you see the future of your JetBlue amenities taking?
Marin: Because of where Hayward comes from, with its history rooted in the arts and photography, it’s important that we keep this connection, as it’s very much part of our DNA. We are collaborating with American artists who are illustrating the next generation of the bags, currently we have been working with Alia Penner, a California pop artist who has designed a star and cloud motif for our new bags which will launch in May. This reinvigorates the ‘Made in America’ story with an American artist, an American design house and an American airline. This is the direction in which I hope the designs continue to go, tying in the worlds of film and Hollywood with that of travel.