Nineties fashion, which gave us everything from glitter butterfly clips to slap bracelets, has been having a major renaissance. Perhaps from our collective nostalgia for simpler times, we've clung onto that era for a semblance of normalcy — especially amidst a global pandemic.
While in lockdown, Renée Parkhurst kept thinking about her past. The Los Angeles photographer, and now designer, often dreamed about launching her own brand as a child of the '90s. Noticing a hole in the market for luxury bucket hats, evocative of her childhood staple, the idea always seemed impossible to begin for the always-on-the-go Parkhurst.
Fueled by the chaotic times we're living in, a baby was finally born. COCOBUNNY, an aspirational bucket hat destination, prides itself on being the first of its kind, Parkhurst says. At a boutique price point and handcrafted with quality materials in LA, COCOBUNNY's headwear is elevated and designed to last forever, regardless of seasonal trend cycles.
Launching today with six different styles — each with its own distinct look — COCOBUNNY is for everyone. The "Los Angeles" style acts as a homage to Cher Horowitz's signature yellow plaid print, while the faux-fur "Moscow" hat delivers a perfectly doll-like, snow bunny moment. For a more understated option, the navy leather "Monaco" is simple and sleek.
PAPER caught up with Parkhurst ahead of the brand's debut to chat about her love for the '90s and where she's planning to take her budding bucket hat empire.
Why the name COCOBUNNY?
COCOBUNNY came from an old nickname of mine.
How has your previous experience in photography contributed to the creation of COCOBUNNY?
When the idea started developing for COCOBUNNY, I immediately put these elements into play. My ideas for campaign imagery, films, music to go along with it, the entire production and creative side started taking off. I've helped build brands from the start; I've rebranded and I've worked with large brands for over 10 years, so given the chance to do this for myself was particularly exciting. It's a total bonus having these muscles already exercised and I love being able to be so completely hands on with aspects of this.
Launching a small business is ambitious, but especially during a pandemic. Why did you decide to dive in, right now?
It really is. It's also such a good time for new ideas; chaotic times always bring evolution. The idea of starting a brand has been in the back of my mind for a while; I really saw a space in the market for boutique hats. Bucket hats being as beloved as they are, so many brands would feature one or two in their collections.
My idea came to being the bucket hat brand, sitting at an elevated level, made in LA, using top quality materials and being treasured pieces to go down in history. Life as it is — or was — never quite gave me the chance or time to dive into it, so during the pandemic I finally got to build.
How did this past year's isolation propel COCOBUNNY forward?
Isolation became an assignment to keep creative and keep the mind moving. There was so much time to sit on ideas and develop them without interruption.
Bucket hats are iconic '90s accessories. What made you decide to run with that specific headwear?
I'm a '90s baby! They are so completely nostalgic for me; I love the versatility they hold, too. The hip hop, rave, and high fashion scenes all have this timeless accessory intertwined. They are timeless; I really do not see them as an in-and-out trend.
The slogan for COCOBUNNY is "nostalgia for the future" just for this reason. It brings you back to that era and uses that for motivation for the future. Nostalgia for the future especially became apparent in the last year and a half while we were waiting for life to return to some sort of normalcy. We all are looking forward to life evolving, while reflecting back.
What's the importance of a staple bucket hat that will last forever?
Creating an elegantly crafted accessory that is of high quality and also timeless is so essential. As COCOBUNNY encompasses these things, it will live on.
Who's your dream COCOBUNNY client?
Anyone and everyone who has a strong sense of identity. I am so excited to see COCOBUNNY on people I admire and inspire me.
Photography: Renée Parkhurst