Purple Magazine
— F/W 2013 issue 20

Hood by Air

power of gender

interview by K8 HARDY
photography by RACHEL CHANDLER


Hood by Air [HBA] is one of the few fashion labels that is clearly designing for the future. While most designers rely on re-creations of the past, Shayne Oliver’s collections are conceptual. HBA is for the cyborg and the warrior. It’s for life lived behind the screen, the distinctive logo popping on your handheld as you examine your selfie. The clothes perform gender, and it’s a new masculinity, a new butch, a new sexy man. The collection has been embraced by stars like A$AP Rocky and Rihanna.

K8 HARDY — What kind of media do you consume on a regular basis?
SHAYNE OLIVER — I go to WorldStarHipHop. I don’t know how to utilize the Internet, because I don’t even know what it means right now. It’s less informational than it used to be.

K8 HARDY — Your collection has this real cyber edge to it, that’s why I’m asking.
SHAYNE OLIVER — That has to do with how the ideas are organized. It’s mostly click and paste. I don’t sketch because it’s not about draping or form in that way. It’s a pushing away from the body, a cyborg, Frankenstein aesthetic.

K8 HARDY — There is a feeling of interiority in the collection, as if with our daily cyber realities, we have developed a new kind of self-intimacy and with it an aesthetic.
SHAYNE OLIVER — Well, the intimacy has a lot to do with the connection between myself and Akeem Smith, the stylist who works with me on HBA. We have been conceptualizing and thinking and researching together, just relating to what’s new and fresh. The language of the collection is coming from this familiarity between our upbringings. We have similar backgrounds.

K8 HARDY — The Caribbean / New York background?
SHAYNE OLIVER — Yeah, the sense of knowing the breakdown of cultures in a third-world aspect, knowing what extreme luxury is and being around it, but also knowing the most deteriorated moments of life where people live within the utmost destruction.

K8 HARDY — Don’t you think the term “streetwear” devalues what you do?
SHAYNE OLIVER — Yes. It’s debasing where it throws anything that is an urban concept into street wear. It totally makes no sense. When you see Comme des Garçons, which is obviously referencing so much of the urban street concept, then it’s called high concept.

K8 HARDY — What term can we use instead?
SHAYNE OLIVER — A lot of the pieces are basically personal and social commentary, like the t-shirt I made covered in movie logos. When someone wears HBA, it’s like playing a role and being in this movie that you are creating for yourself. And it has to do with credits, like movie credits. There are HBA Classics, t-shirts that are commentary on the person who is actually going to put it on. Now we are also focusing more on the fashion, the cuts and materials, for the HBA collection.

K8 HARDY — You had some amazing patterns in your runway show
SHAYNE OLIVER — Thank you. Yeah, now it’s more about the person, a character, who is wearing the clothes. They are growing and experiencing things. We’re trying to figure out the cut by thinking, what does this person’s lifestyle require? Does it require a sexy open back? What’s happening to this person, and who is this mutant that has an opinion about things?

K8 HARDY — Your collection is a new twist on masculinity, an extra performance of maleness. It queers some of the looks, but in a very new way. Some pieces play with cuts usually associated with women’s wear, but they don’t come across as feminine. Gender-wise it’s something really new that you are doing.
SHAYNE OLIVER — I call it power of gender. Even when women wear blazers, they’re trying to come into a situation to let you know they’re serious. They’re trying to command respect, but are balanced and not too wrapped up in their feelings. They’re self-aware. I think dressing with power allows us to let our guard down and establish deeper connections with like-minded people.

K8 HARDY — Yes, this character you are dressing is very aware of their gender presentation.
SHAYNE OLIVER — That’s totally what it is. Even next season we’re going to be doing sports bras because it has to do with being secure. You are being held tight, and so what does that mean? What does that piece of clothing mean? It’s not trying to be fooled around with. It’s not flirty, it’s secure.

Akeem Smith, style — Shu Yamag, hair — Kanako, make-up — Barrett sweger, photographer’s assistant —Jeremy Matos, model.

[Table of contents]

F/W 2013 issue 20

Table of contents

purple EDITO

purple NEWS






purple BEAUTY

purple TRAVEL

purple SEX

purple PHILO

purple NIGHT

purple STORY


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