Hood by Air: Embracing Diversity

20-minute Hood by Air runway show couldn’t be any shorter. The fearless label injected NYC with a visceral energy and mesmerised the fashion set with their urban warriors, androgynous street-toughs and working-class people from around the neighbourhood. For Brooklyn-raised Shayne Oliver, it was an expression of his own identity: he plays with issues of status and power, insiders and outsiders, race, and gender roles, stirring up thoughts that are propelling the dialogue about diversity forward.

Runway photo credit: Infinity

All the usual visual cues for masculinity and femininity have been muddled and each time a model appears on the catwalk, one naturally attempts to discern if the person is male or female. But you’re also left to ask: Why does it matter? At a time when fashion seems to be fetishising transgender individuals in advertising campaigns and politicians are sorting through the legalities of same-sex marriage, Oliver’s work so profoundly blurs gender that it practically disappears. People are people.

The final moments of the show featured a group of bare-chested male models whose movements had the grace of dancers, the aggression of street fighters, and the audacity of runway divas… It’s one thing to design a nice frock, and completely different thing creating a thunderstorm of fresh, iconoclastic energy which Hood by Air made look so effortlessly dope.

The brand has also debuted its new ‘Fucciboi’ film to accompany the collection. The work of Matthew Williams and Jack Heller, the video focuses on the drama of dance and movement and the challenging of norms and expectations. As Shayne Oliver puts it, the film is to “all the Fuccibois who shred the status quo with aggression and lush energies.”

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