Last night in Selfridges car park, Hood By Air’s latest menswear collection was launched for the first time in London. Founder of Hood by Air Shayne Oliver showcased his Spring/Summer ’14 collection on a selection of models and street cast boys found in a skate park in Stratford. Unlike the usual sobriety of most fashions shows with stern lighting, severe seating plans and elongated waiting times the event was planned as a party with New York DJ duo Ghe20 Goth1k playing and cocktails being served all night.
Through the entrance to the event there was a skate ramp which would become the entrance for the models where they would walk, skateboard or roller-skate into a runway. What was instantly obvious about this fashion show was not only the different decision to stage how the clothes would move on the models bodies or how the smoke machines or lighting may disguise what we were supposed to be looking at but the energy that seeped from the whole evening. It was almost like the event was more of a performance art piece than a typical fashion show.
Hood By Air’s designs are inherently street wear, but rather than the sweaters swamping the models bodies the clothing became exaggerated by the atmosphere and styling. Daniel Sallstrom was the make-up artist who subtly applied make-up to resemble peeling burnt skin and the models hair was spray painted with ‘HBA’. Hood By Air’s trademark use of logos, and common cultural obsessions which permeate our minds through our ever present internet back catalogue of pop culture references were visible throughout the collection. Rather than being too overbearing which is often a common effect of many designers currently trying to re-appropriate this similar and popular idea, Oliver’s dissection of this concept is completly confident. These clothes looked like they were being lived in by an individual living a full life rather than the alienation of most fashion communication.
If it is subculture and the dress of artists which is the root of all fashion evolution, Hood By Air can comfortably be seen as encapsulating a very current feeling and creative process that is currently alive. Worn and modelled by the likes of A$AP Rocky, boychild and Iain Isiah, HBA encases more than what most designers could dream for. The construction of the whole evening paired with the impressive collection exhibited the fact that Shayne Oliver has the visionary talent that many could only hope for and will eventually make him historically relevant. However ultimately it has been completely refreshing to see fashion once again become more performative.
This collection will be available from Selfridges from October.