A Retrospective: Shayne Oliver at Hood by Air

Our definition of true anarchic fashion and radical streetwear has changed over the years as more and more brands have fused the once-separate worlds of high fashion and streetwear together. But if there’s one thing industry insiders can agree on, it’s the colossal impact of Hood by Air’s work on the American fashion landscape. The brand, helmed by its founder Shayne Oliver since 2006, blends provocative, conceptual fashion with commercial pieces. 

However, after sixteen years, Oliver has stepped away from design duties at Hood by Air.

The first thing that comes to mind when we think of Oliver’s work at HBA is that he was ahead of his time. Oliver had a disruptive and fresh approach to streetwear, which is why, despite going on hiatus in 2017, the brand has remained a favourite of many. 

Oliver’s runway shows have always been evocative:

For Spring 2015, Oliver used denim as a vessel for a blend of punk, hip-hop, and futuristic aesthetics. See-through shorts, X-rays of cyborgs, and striking accessories defined the collection.

Spring 2016 Menswear was a season of unconventional mouthpieces and deconstructed fashion. Jackets were cut into three, while models’ mouths were held open by bejeweled mouth guards. The collection had an overall child-like demeanor to it, with pacifiers and crystals that adorned the models, spelling out ‘ICON’ or ‘DOLL’. Oliver even termed it “infantile glamour.”

Stocking masks and pleated pieces are the trademarks of a Hood by Air collection, as seen in Fall 2015. It allowed audiences to focus on Oliver’s stunning tailoring and draping, while adding a series of achievable, yet stylistic garments to the HBA portfolio.

A twist on tailored shirts followed for Spring 2017. The collection featured unique collars, exaggerated details, and a striking choice of colour. This season also graced the industry with the iconic double boot, created in collaboration with FRYE.

Shayne Oliver is, without a doubt, a force to be reckoned with. His work at Hood by Air has cemented the brand as one of New York City’s most beloved. And his legacy, both at HBA and in the industry as a whole, is remarkable.

, A Retrospective: Shayne Oliver at Hood by Air, Liminul MagazineSimren Jaswani is an editorial intern at Liminul Magazine and a Fashion Student at Toronto Metropolitan University.