For Style.com's fifth print issue, Maya Singer entrenched herself within the Hood By Air camp to profile the label and designer Shayne Oliver. After spending enough time with Oliver and the various members of the HBA fam, Singer declares that, "These are early days for Hood by Air, but it's not unreasonable to think that Oliver, and his entourage of close collaborators and like-minded friends, could set the fashion world topsy-turvy."
You may already be familiar with the logo-heavy T-shirts donned by rappers and streetwear kids alike, but there's no doubt that Hood By Air is a fashion label that operates by its own unique philosophy. The long-form profile traces how Shayne and his close friends bridged the gap and blurred the lines between downtown Manhattan's music, arts, and fashion scenes with his home neighborhood of East New York in Brooklyn.
"'I started making clothes because I wanted stuff to wear that could move between these worlds,' Oliver explains. 'This art world of downtown, in Manhattan, and this other world that I went home to—there are things that connect them. Brooklyn is really hustle-driven. People are always looking for something, trying to get on. But it's the same downtown. Both places, there's an interest in power. A respect for it.'"
To Shayne and his friends, it didn't matter what your personal identity was, as long as you confidently brought an element of power and progressive authority to the table. Now, as the profile details, it's a question of whether a relatively staid fashion world will accept Hood By Air, and if Hood By Air wants to even be accepted.
There's no doubt that Hood By Air has jarred people into paying attention, but for a label that is about blurring lines, many critics and observers are trying to peg the line as hip-hop, punk, or erecting any other number of confines to define HBA. As for Oliver, he could give a fuck about being categorized, as opposed to focusing on keeping the electricity going. "These categories exist," Olivier said. "There are a lot of categories. I feel like maybe they've been done to death. It's like, who cares?"