(Photo Via: Stylelikeu)
Splitting his time between producing the underground’s much-talked-about GHE20 G0TH1K party, and designing the influential and provocative clothing line HOOD BY AIR, Shayne Oliver isn’t fond of wasted time. In just a few years, the Brooklynite has built HBA into a collection that celebrities covet (A$AP Rocky, Kanye West) as well as one with which brands, like Opening Ceremony, want to collaborate. Just as the 24 year old showed at fashion week, we took some time to talk to Oliver about building a “genderless” brand, the future of his raging GHE20 G0TH1K parties, and what it means to get love from A$AP Rocky.
What inspired the name, HOOD BY AIR?
It came from going to underground parties, and we used to freestyle on the mics. And one night I was reciting something, and that came out and kinda stuck with me as an aesthetic and a way of living. It’s also like owning your influence on the world…make the world understand what you’re doing and why what you’re doing is so important.
A$AP Rocky wears a lot of HBA Classics shirts. How did this come about?
A$AP Bari and all his boys have been following HBA for a while. They were all collecting HBA Classics, and they would swap stuff in between each other as a group, [including Rocky]. So I think [it was that crew's] sharing and collecting and shifting. We also grew up in the same clique of people and generations–friends of friends, it’s pretty close. We’re all in the same group. He’s actually doing original music for the runway show, so I’m really excited.
Have you seen any other celebrities wearing HOOD BY AIR that have excited you?
I know that Kanye had a chain, and I know that he was kinda investigating it when it first came out. But I think, like, they didn’t have his size. But that’s kinda cool. It’s fascinating to see how people translate it. I hope to have the piece of clothing embody [something], and whoever else is wearing it–it’s about them understanding what the garment is about and breathing that. So whoever’s wearing it, I appreciate that more than anything else.
Any updates on the GHE20 G0TH1K parties?
We’re trying to figure out how to move it out of the parties. and now people are into doing specifically what we were doing, so that the availability for spaces that we want to do stuff in no longer exists, or it’s become obvious so the cops know about it. What we’re doing is working on music production and touring and creating a sound that can move all over the place so it’s a feeling, a movement and an aesthetic that you feel opposed to you having to go somewhere. We’ll be able to bring it to you and you can experience it for the moment. We like to keep it special in that sense. If we’re touring with it, you have to be there in that one moment and experience it, and then it’s gone.
(Photo Via: Kalamu. Posterous)
So GHE20 G0TH1K’s going to be a music tour?
We’re working on that. We’re trying to figure out what works best for us, because Venus [X] is actually a DJ, so her schedule is really busy. But we’re trying to incorporate what we both do in a way that feels right and move forward with it in a very positive sense. As of late we’ve been booking more gigs together and getting dates elsewhere. And we already toured with Gang Gang Dance, so we got a bite of that, and it felt really good. Since we’ve done that, we’ve been so obsessed with that concept. We kind of can’t let it go.
You’ve said that the primary influence of the HBA brand is the embodiment of “boy?” How do you translate that to the clothes?
I don’t want to say it but, in a sense, it has to do with swagger. Like, a man could have on heels and fuck that shit up and make it look really good. It’s about the attitude that is put into the piece. Masculinity is really a confidence. Even when a woman is confident they say that she’s masculine. It’s just so funny that people confuse those two things. It’s like, having a sense of confidence is masculinity, and I question it and I love to play with the prerequisites of it, and bend and play and intertwine. I don’t even know if that answers the question.
So would you say HBA’s clothes are for men, or are they genderless?
In my mind, I guess it is genderless. Because if you’re wearing it right, I don’t see a gender. If you’re in the lifestyle, if you’re owning it, I don’t see gender at all. I would say it only has gender because of what people perceive feminine and masculine to be, and that’s it really. Other than that, I’m pretty chill on what’s gender. But I don’t like the term unisex. I understand it, but I don’t identify with it. I prefer androgyny [rather] than unisex. It doesn’t speak to anything, it’s just a box. And it looks great on certain people, it’s just not something that really interests me–it’s not what I’m aiming for at all.
How did you present your newest collection for NYFW?
I did a presentation on September 7th. I took over a hotel on 42nd St. called THE OUT, which is “the urban resort,” which I think is really funny. It’s advertised everywhere apparently. We did a public installation in the lobby, so it was basically HBA creating its own hotel and space. It was a visual eyegasm. Rocky did the music for the private presentation for buyers and press, and Venus and I worked on the soundtrack for the installation.
(Photo Via: Opening Ceremony)