Hood By Air is making its comeback
Placing Black queer communities at its core, the return of Shayne Oliver's progressive fashion practice is needed now more than ever.
Photography Matthew Stone
From its founding in 2006 to the announcement of its hiatus in 2017, Shayne Oliver and Raul López’s Hood By Air ceaselessly raised the bar of what truly progressive fashion looked like. Among the earliest protagonists of the streetwear-high fashion crossover that has come to dominate runways today, and revolutionary in its shamelessly Black, shameless queer ethics and aesthetics, the New York brand was a poster child for it means for fashion to be ahead of its time.
Now, as the fashion world starts to wake up to the principles and practices that HBA have held dear since day one, Hood By Air has announced its much-anticipated return. In a post on Instagram, the brand renewed its commitment to community values at its heart, commenting on the creative industries “[distancing of] themselves further and further from real culture. Radical works have been pushed out by gentrification. The youth have been robbed of the physical and psychological spaces necessary for new ideas to grow.”
In its new, four-part incarnation, the brand is setting out to provide exactly these spaces. There will be Hood By Air, a luxury ready-to-wear brand launching “collectable fashion products” in line with a yearly “theme”. This will also inform HBA, a direct-to-consumer platform. The third and fourth branches are Museum and Anonymous Club. Through the former, archival pieces from the brand's original collections will be reissued, with “young BIPOC creatives” periodically invited to reinterpret them.
The latter is perhaps the brand’s most characteristically radical initiative. A forum for the cultivation of emerging artists, musicians and businesses, Anonymous Club will effectively be a talent incubator for the next generation of Hood By Air collaborators -- each potential game-changers in their own right.
“Thirteen years ago, young, Black and POC creatives started Hood By Air, creating something entirely unique in fashion,” reads the post. Now, “the system is antiquated, and we want to replace it with something new. There is another world that needs to be created. We’ve done it before, and we’re doing it again.”