Hood by Air’s Shayne Oliver has built a fashion brand with the exposure that any aspiring designer dream of. The accomplishment is even greater when you hear that Oliver has no formal training. And the nominations and milestones keep coming. Oliver recently took a 100,000 Euro LVMH prize that comes with a mentorship from the likes of Raf Simons, Nicolas Ghesquière, and Phoebe Philo. He’s also nominated for CFDA’s Swarovski Award for Menswear. To top it off, Oliver has done this with progressive silhouettes that might be challenging for some to wear—but his goal is to make people think differently.
Style.com recently caught up with the young designer in Paris to ask him a few questions and hear where the brand is going to next. Read some choice quotes below and visit Style.com to read the rest of the interview.
On dressing people with his envelope-pushing designs:
"I think right now I’m just basically training a generation. What I want to do is train a generation to accept a new way of dressing, a new way of being, and a new way of approaching ideas and concepts within themselves, or even the idea of who they are as a person."
On being a black designer and getting recognition on a huge scale:
"I kind of like don’t consider myself a designer. I wasn’t formally trained, and I’m also doing this as commentary. It’s almost a backhanded compliment to fashion, showing fashion that it doesn’t control all its rules in a way. The amount of energy that comes into fashion from—I wouldn’t say 'streetwear,' because I never really connected with that term, but I’ll say 'street culture' in a sense, it has affected fashion in so many ways."
On creating his own lane in fashion:
"It feels good to be heard and that some people get what you’re saying, instead of always being seen as some sort of loose creative, conceptual person or conceptual brand."