GQ

Hood By Air Continues Its Comeback With a New Drop

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Hood By Air, one of fashion’s most beloved brands and a potent symbol of the young New York avant-garde, officially announced its return last summer, though it has unfolded less as an outright comeback and more like a piece of multipart fashion theatre in which each curtain lift reveals a new narrative in the brand’s quest for fashion dominance.

The first chapter of that era continues today, with the drop of a new collection called Veteran, the next step in the brand’s self-titled “Prologue” era, which HBA entered upon its relaunch.

“The inspiration behind Veteran is quite simple,” designer Shayne Oliver tells GQ. “This collection is meant to cleanse the palate as well as introduce a fresh cohesive taste to the meaning of a ‘dress code.’ In Between H13A and further into the full Genesis Prologue Era, this collection also serves as a luxurious precursor in the form of a uniform.” (H13A is a project launched at the end of last summer to build a living archive designs released by the brand over its 13 year history.)

Courtesy of Hood By Air

The uniform HBA is playing with here is that of the surveillance state—one T-shirt bears an image of a dizzying stack of surveillance cameras, with the word “PIG” underneath; a sublime blousy nylon hoodie carries the image of a police badge tweaked with the language of Hood By Air; and a pair of layered cargo shorts, like the ones cops wear during the summer, have a bullseye on the crotch. (Of course, HBA’s are made from fine Italian twill instead of polyester.) It’s a classic expression of Oliver’s taste for vengeful fashion appropriation, following one of the primary rules of the HBA art of war: don the visage—or tactical cargo shorts—of your enemy to defeat them.

Courtesy of Hood By Air

The contours of Hood By Air’s comeback have so far hinted at Oliver’s ambition to be one of contemporary fashion’s great auteurs—not simply creating clothing, or creating clothing with a lifestyle, but to be a maverick responsible for a universe of characters, ideas, and values. Upon its return, it stated its intention to be “The New Institution”—perhaps replacing the powerful entities every fashion brand strives to impress. The brand’s first drop, announced last July, included a T-shirt covered in the brand’s signature aggressive graphics, positioning Hood By Air as an “ELITE URBAN BRIGADE.” Their first ready-to-wear project launched in early March, with Naomi Campbell as the star of a campaign styled by Carlos Nazario and shot by Luis Alberto Rodriguez. Titled Prologue: Mother, it used the language of voguing, to Oliver what the ballet was to Coco Chane. But the collection also situated Campbell as a maternal deity to all the HBA children. The press release for Veteran includes Mary J. Blige, on the cover of GARAGE’s Fall 2020 issue, and Rihanna, on the January 2021 cover of Essence, as a part of their strategy, suggesting Oliver envisions a new kind of fashion world-building that encompasses editorial placements as well as advertising campaigns and seasonal clothing collections. In addition to all this, HBA is developing a sort of incubator called ANONYMOUS CLUB, to support young artists who will collaborate with the brand. Taken together, you can see the outlines of a fully self-sufficient Hood By Air universe, an alternate universe to the fashion status quo.

A press release notes that Veteran is a pre-collection, in advance of a show planned for this year. Pieces are already selling out. See you for the next act.

See more images from the Veteran lookbook below.

Courtesy of Hood By Air
Courtesy of Hood By Air
Courtesy of Hood By Air
Courtesy of Hood By Air
Courtesy of Hood By Air
Courtesy of Hood By Air
Courtesy of Hood By Air
Courtesy of Hood By Air
Courtesy of Hood By Air

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