Hood by Air is a fashion label that has grown within the last couple of years into a cult storm that no one saw coming. Is it just a label or does the very concept not extends outside of its clever name? Possibly, because the concept of street wear, like grunge once upon a time, was not really seen as very fashionable let alone high fashion. Then we have Oliver Shayne. He has successfully harmonized elements of art, street and luxury into a high fashion brand that everyone wants to get their hands on. Many of the pieces are gender neutral and with an Instagram following of over 400,000, we can see why everyone is now paying attention. Additionally, Hood By Air nominated for the CFDA’s Swarovski Award for Menswear, and was the runner-up for the inaugural LVMH Prize.
Oliver attended both NYU and FIT, but dropped out and ended up creating his own designed oversized T-shirts, while DJing for New York’s underground GHE20G0TH1K parties, along with Venus X. Here, is where he gained many supporters in in some cases, the very people that would join his team in making HBA the powerhouse that it is today. In what seemed like a day to night transition, people started talking and supporting. Those supporters include Rihanna, Ciara, Kanye West and A$AP Rocky. He cites Phoebe Philo, Helmut Lang and Dries Van Noten and some of his influences.
The common theme of every line centers on pushing the envelope and veering outside of the norm. One minute there are art inspired graphics and in another a deconstructed jacket. The eyes see something intriguing and minds want to explore. Is it street wear? Not all the time. Is it only for men? No, because it goes both ways. There are so many textures, so we want to touch it, wear it and we demand more. Oliver’s label is not limited to a specific demographic and appeals to a wide range of people. A Business of Fashion article by Robert Cordero stated, “Consumers well outside of the expected Hood by Air demographic, from 14-year-old boys in the Midwest to Korean teenagers and even the designer Vera Wang, are all customers who want that ‘swag.’”
We can take this moment to step outside of fashion and see things from a wider scope that generally, society has a tendency to whisper the norms and rules for what is deemed as acceptable creating this glass bubble. The beauty in this is there will always be someone to shatter that glass whether intentionally or because it is at the core of who they are. That someone is definitely Oliver. Visionary? Yes. Risk taker? Hell yes. Innovator? Well, duh.