The first time I ever became aware of Hood By Air, what was striking was the authenticity of Shayne Oliver's vision. Authenticity goes beyond realness and I'm going to start employing the word "authentic" , (in the very Sartrean sense ), in the place of "realness" to describe creativity that is felt, passionate, innately embedded in the contemporary and all the more important for it.
They always say New York is a state of mind and I deeply respect the testimony to what New York is...real and conceptual...brutal yet free-spirited as expressed through HBA. In the frenzy of New York Fashion Week, there is a lot of clothes and a lot of running around and a lot of hype but very little authenticity in terms of plugging into the here-and-now of this city's life.
This is why I was grateful for the ideas, both wearable and some not-so-wearable at the HBA SS14 offering. It wasn't just the sportswear riffs, or the branded basics, or the multi-ethnicity of the models or the vitality of a contemporary idea of youth culture that enriched HBA's design dialogue this season. Those elements have quickly become the brand's DNA , to use a ready-made phrase.
What extended the critical value of the line was the deeply personal and hermetic details evident in Oliver's taste. It is his. From the veneration of performance artist Boychild, to his powerful relevance to the experimental flank of hip-hop, those details are singular. It is not a facsimile and as the last great avatar of personal values in city style, Stephen Sprouse , once expressed.. "God Save New York". Because with people like Shayne, New York will always be New York.