Shayne Oliver Interview
Hood By Air
Hood by Air was founded by Shayne Oliver in 2006 in the same way almost all great cult labels are started, by making tee's for friends. The brand has stayed true to its roots and remained hard to find despite being worn by the likes of A$AP Rocky and Venus X. The brand's juxtaposing world of Hood meets Fashion was around well before the fashion world caught wind of its influence, but it's the brand's influence which to me makes it one of the most interesting brands today. I spoke to Shayne Oliver to get a little more insight.
POST NEW: Tell us about you... What got you into Hood by Air?
Shayne Oliver: It was a concept really, something that I could associate with as a lifestyle. Like the title/name of a gang. It became a gang. After playing around with this concept for a couple years, garments and official collections started being made, around 2008.
PN: I feel Hood by Air has played a massive role in influencing a lot of menswear right now - do you pay a lot of attention to the fashion world?
SO: Fashion has it own language and I love to watch the translations and accents. The fashion world is bit different than being into fashion. I enjoy the fashion world also. It can be silly at times.
PN: You started Hood by Air in 2006, so its now in its 6th year - is there a plan for growth or change?
SO: HBA has always been an organic thing; an organic expression... An outlet. Saying this, the brand has always had a market appeal that has triggered a commercial desire for sure. So I'm organically supplying the demand, especially since its self funded, etc. The brand will have a more commercial shift in sales for the latter half of the year... Setting up with a culture umbrella, the opening of the web store, and opening sales up to the market for the upcoming seasons. The runs will remain compact and exclusive. HBA always grows but the growth will be more obvious and visible, everything will be more centralized and created to be a focal asset to the company. We want your soul, haha.
PN: How important is the lifestyle around the brand?
SO: The lifestyle is in the garment. the garment is meant to feel like its breathing, talking, has wisdom. the lifestyle is there but I do not wish to victimize the costumer with that. They should build their own ideals in the garments. there should be a love affair with the lifestyle opposed to using it.
PN: What influences Hood by Air - where do you find influence in what you create?
PN: Hood by Air has a pretty loyal following - in a dreamland - who should be wearing Hood by Air?
SO: The ideal man is comfortable with himself. The ideal man is aware that he cares about detail and appearance as much as a woman does, but has the carte blance to carry this off with the carelessness of a man
PN: What are you listening to this week?
SO: HBA, azalea banks, asap rocky, gospel, ARCA, Fatima al Qadiri, Venus X, Dipset anything , Physical Therapy, Kevin Prodigy, Gobby, Vocaloid remixes
PN: What role does music play in the brand? I can see obvious pop culture references - but I've also noticed pieces from your new collection comes with a mix tape?
SO: A huge part, the list above is mostly of very close friends whose music i feel should be discussed and recognized. Ive been djing and doing creative direction in music from a young age and i have never separated fashion and music. this is why im beggining to offer a sound to the clothing, presently through HBA and Ghe20 Goth1k.
PN: What are you reading?
SO: I sift through words and get a general idea of things. So there's nothing specific.
PN: What's the best thing about NYC?
SO: As cliche as it sounds...the best thing would have to be the variety of culture and people that live here. I love to play my favorite inspiration tracks (not listed lol) at full volume in my headphones while walking around and taking in the city.
Photographer - kevin amato