To bring you the best insight into this vibrant city, YOO have connected with people at the cultural heart of Rio de Janeiro.

Andre Namitala – Designer behind the Handred Menswear Collection

Famed Brazilian Menswear Designer Andre Namitala shares his inspiration behind the collaboration with Yoo2 Rio de Janeiro to create a striking fashion collection for the Hotel Team and his personal insight into the “Cidade Maravilhosa”

What is your background and how did you get into fashion design?

I grew up in Rio de Janeiro, in a large Lebanese family.  I rebelled against my Catholic School education and dropped out early to pursue a career in fashion. After learning my craft with a number of Brazilian designers, I created the Handred menswear brand.  The reception has been amazing and I plan to grow internationally in the future.

What can we expect from the collaboration between Yoo2 Rio de Janeiro and yourself for this unique collection of uniforms?

I really want to make the clothing to not look like a uniform.  I want pieces that would easily sit on the racks in any fashion boutique.  It is a range that will make the Staff feel comfortable whilst wearing it, with loose fits and bold prints and colours. All the fabrics are natural, to ensure they remain cool in the hot Rio climate.  I have reinterpreted classic hotel clothing, to introduce a modern twist.

What is your inspiration for this collection?

The relaxed atmosphere of Rio de Janeiro and the tiled mosaics that you find in many Brazilian buildings (and the interior design of the Yoo2 Rio de Janeiro).

What do the Handred brand and Yoo2 Rio de Janeiro have in common?

Both are sophisticated, but not ostentatious.  They focus on the detail and strive to create unique aesthetics.

What are your favourite things to do in the Botafogo neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro?

A perfect day for me is to explore the shops on Rua Paulo Barreto and relax in the gardens of Ruy Barbosa House.  Café Sorelli has great coffee and brownies and the nearby cinema shows a good selection of Brazilian films.  I enjoy evenings with a glass of wine at Winehouse, dinner on Conde de Irajá street and then over to Comuna Bar to finish the night.

What are the hippest fashion shops in Rio?

Void, Frey Kaliouby and House Ipanema.

What is your tip to stay in tune with the city’s trends?

Smile at everyone – from Downtown Rio to Vidigal.

Where are the best places to hang out with friends?

Wake up early and head to Macumba Beach, followed by a leisurely lunch at Bira Restaurant.

What never goes out of style in Rio?

The scene at Arpoador Beach, with its crystal clear waters and sunshine due to ‘Daylight Saving’ until 8pm in the Summer.  Then head to Braseiro da Gavea for a beer to continue people watching.

What makes Botafogo great?

Its diversity.

What is the face of Rio?

The Carnival.

Where is a good place for drinks in the city?

Bar dos Descasados in Santa Teresa neighborhood

What are your favourite restaurants?

Deusimar, Oscar, Braseiro, Irajá Gastro and Zazá Bistro.

Can you share an insider tip that you won’t find in a Tourist Guide?

Head to the Temporada Bar in the Hotel Arpoador, opposite Ipanema Beach.  They have the most amazing crab burgers.

What advice would you give to a friend coming to Rio de Janeiro?

Wake up early for breakfast at Empório Jardim, followed by a walk in the Parque Lage (which sits below Corcovado and Christ The Redeemer), for a real flavor of local life.