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July 29 2014

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Exclusive: Hood by Air Goes Online and Overseas

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HBA

New York-based Hood by Air has, over the past few years, experienced a meteoric rise. Designer Shayne Oliver helped to elevate the super-luxury sportswear movement, and his printed T-shirts and oversize bombers are now favorites of trendsetters like Kanye West and A$AP Rocky. The brand is already carried by a bevy of international retailers, including Barneys New York, Opening Ceremony, VFiles, and Browns. Yet, despite all its success (not to mention its hoards of tech-savvy millennial fans), HBA does not have its own Web site. On Monday, however, the launch of hoodbyair.com will change all that. “People have had time to be introduced to the brand and interact with it in their own way,” offered Oliver by phone from Paris, where he is showing his Pre-Fall collection on Saturday. It’s the first time he’s presenting in the city. “There are so many portals through which you can access HBA, and it needs to have a real home now, where we can have its high and low aspects exist in the same place. This will help us spread our message. As a young label, you have to have that in order to survive.”

Hood by Air

Upon its launch, the Web store will only sell site-exclusive T-shirts. “This is a very fresh experience. I want to grow into it, and I want it to be organic,” said Oliver. The preliminary site features a black-and-white interface and rotating models that give a 360-degree view of each garment. GIFS, social media elements, and more are on the way. “Before we take it to the next level, to a world with more video and more color, we want to master it,” explained Oliver. “We started with black and white because the site is still a baby—we’re starting with a blank space.”

The Web site ties in with HBA’s upcoming Paris Pre-Fall presentation, during which Oliver says he’ll unveil items that will only be available on the site. Also set to debut on Saturday? The label’s first foray into denim, as well as the first installment of an ongoing footwear collaboration with Italian brand Forfex (we’ll see part two during HBA’s NYFW presentation next month). “We’re so inspired by being American, and loving that we’re American, so we were like, let’s just do something really American in Paris and show a lot of jeans,” said Oliver of the new denim venture. When asked if he’d consider doing a full-on show in the City of Light, the designer paused. “Yeah. The response here has been really cool, and I was worried because the last thing I wanted to do was to come here and feel like I’m being vulgar toward Paris’ culture or structure. I’m not in any way trying to bow down to anyone, but I have to think about the opportunities that come with the acceptance of the brand. We’re super-excited.”

Photos: Courtesy Photos

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