hood by air has announced its comeback
Designer Shayne Oliver told Ssense that the brand will return within a matter of months.
Photography Matthew Stone
Hood By Air, how New York misses you. It’s unclear as to whether fashion week here has ever experienced the level of hysteria that existed outside a HBA show, or the conversation pushing designs that happened on the runway itself (at least since Helmut Lang). Designer Shayne Oliver originated much of the current fashion dialogue — from streetwear as high fashion to genderless designs to having your friends walk the runway (when your friends are Wolfgang Tillmans). The brand won the LVMH Special Jury Prize in 2014, and a CFDA award in 2015. Now, in an interview with Ssense, Oliver has announced that he’s relanching Hood By Air.
“There came a point, towards the end, when I was pushing forward just to push and out-do myself,” Oliver tells writer Katja Horvat of his decision to stop showing. “I needed a minute to figure out that it’s more about exposing the issues, and then also creating resolutions for them.” What’s different, this time around he says, is that “So now, instead of overdoing it, I am all about communication and explaining what am I trying to say with a specific item.” What this means, and if we’ll ever have HBA fashion week hysteria again, who knows — Oliver isn’t convinced by the current fashion week system, saying, “Fashion schedules are ridiculous.” One imagines that what he’ll envision in its place will be interesting.
As to what Oliver does think is important for a designer to have, he says, “A voice,” something, through his work, that he’s always had in abundance. “That sounds so corny to say, but you need to want to say something, and not just, ‘I am a designer, and this is what I think is cool.’ I think in order to be successful, you have to fill a void that is not being spoken to, either personal or one that lives globally.” We look forward to the next chapter of Hood By Air.
In an interview exclusive to SSENSE, Shayne Oliver announces the relaunch of his cult-favorite brand set to return in coming months.
In 2006, when designer Shayne Oliver founded Hood by Air, it was more than just a brand, it was a movement. A phenomenon galvanized by an ensemble of collaborators and New York club kids from the GHE20 G0TH1K scene. During its prime, Hood by Air—HBA for short—earned two of the most prestigious awards in fashion, the LVMH Special Jury Prize in 2014 and a CFDA award the following year. The brand grew to embody the mid-2000s zeitgeist—think gender neutral garments, hybrid XXL silhouettes, and big logos, seen everywhere. A$AP Rocky closed their FW13 show in a neoprene jacket with ‘HOOD BY AIR.’ on the back. Rihanna wore a pastel pink custom HBA look for her performance at the 2016 VMAs. HBA collaborated with Pornhub for SS17, sending photographer and artist Wolfgang Tillmans down their runway—Jaden Smith and Rick Ross sitting front row. With so much well-curated hype, it came as a surprise when, in April of that year, HBA announced it would be going on hiatus effective immediately in order to focus on personal projects.
After a highly publicized collection as artist in residence for Helmut Lang in SS18, Oliver, now 30, and HBA are making a comeback. Today, it’s all about extracting the essential meaning of the brand, the personalization, impact, and storytelling that made HBA so refreshing in the past. With the re-launch, Oliver will address his critical views on materialism and mass culture, offering potential solutions while proposing new models for consumerism.
Read the complete interview with Shayne Oliver now exclusively on ssense.com