Hood by Air presented us yesterday with their Autumn/Winter 2014 fashion show at New York fashion week. The pure energy which the fashion company so effortlessly exerted quite simply made everything else happening at fashion week look soulless and frankly quite pointless.
Hood by Air are known for being achingly young but that doesn’t mean that they are necessarily exclusive. Theres something so celebratory about what HBA are doing because they are showing us a part of contemporary culture which is too new and difficult for a wider audience to properly engage with because of how frankly cutting edge it is.
However what HBA are doing is what the most pioneering designers have done in the past, they are creating something which in around three to four years will become obliterated through consumer marketing or or re-appropriated by big named celebrities to the point where it means nothing.
But for now there is a rawness to the energy being manufactured by this brand which will always remain pure in how we look back at this point in fashion history and at the moment is too complicated to be replicated with any decency.
Hood by Air are creating clothes which are actually about living in the present, the most progressive forms of subculture are being performed on their catwalk because this is actually how this group of people are living and enjoying themselves.
Their use of styling was also quite frankly overwhelming, HBA turned the body into a canvas for collage. Long piece of hair were limply attached to the head in different tones and scissored photographs of eyebrows, cheeks and chins were stuck on top of models faces in different skin tones creating an uncanny repression of the human face. A few of the models also wore grey wigs complicating a kind of impossibility to the space of the body that the designer’s created.
The actual clothing replicated similar themes to what we already know of the designers however their was something a little more sophisticated than usual. Embossed leathers with their logo strayed away from their better known use of brazen graphics on jersey.
The finale sequence of voguing being performed on the catwalk has gone viral through various forms of social media and can once again only be celebrated for their use of taking for granted their opportunity to create a performance rather than the mundanity of a parade of anonymous models.
Although we are currently in the midst of New York’s women’s fashion week HBA presented us with both male and female models exaggerating the importance of gender ambiguity to the brand. It almost feels like to even mention this ambiguity is to disrespect it because it is so natural to the brand.
HBA’s refusal to co-operate with what the fashion world expects of them does not just end with their use of male, female and trans models but they have shown us one of the healthiest and most realistic mixes of models from different ethnic backgrounds on to their catwalk.
It is easy to forget that fashion isn’t simply just about the making of clothes and then the desire to consume them. A successful fashion designer bares the responsibility of helping us create the identity of a human being that they want to exist in society. Fashion is in many ways about looking forward within our culture and thinking about how humans will look in the next six to twelve months or if not even longer.
However superficial this may be 90% of the time for most designers, Hood by Air are genuinely creating a space for acceptance and progression and their audience are reacting.