12 posts tagged "Shayne Oliver"
Shayne Oliver built a brand, and now he’s using the momentum (and resources) from his recent CFDA nomination and 100,000-euro LVMH Special Prize to expand his vision. “We’ve had the exposure,” Oliver told Style.com from his new, unfinished office/atelier/retail space on the Lower East Side, “so now we’re teaching the customer how to engage with the brand.”
For upcoming seasons, Hood by Air as we know it will be divided into three parts—Hood by Air (wardrobe pieces) and HBA (printed pieces), both to be shown in New York, and an artisanal collection to be shown in Paris, which Oliver isn’t ready to reveal too much about just yet. “It will be Hood by Air for sure. It’s just really special,” he said. “And it will be a presentation as opposed to being a show, definitely meant to be intimate and one-on-one. It’s going to push the direction of this whole season. It’ll be the fire starter.”
In addition, there’s a very real possibility that brick-and-mortar retail is on the horizon. “VFILES was acting like a retail space for us, in a sense,” Oliver says. “Now we have the space to do it on our own. Our energy as opposed to having it be embedded in a VFILES situation. They’re growing their own culture, and we’ll be growing our own as well.” He’s already got plans for how he will strategically distribute certain products. “This space here will also be used as a platform to teach the customer. For instance, there will be certain styles, like basics that we think might be too basic for us to sell on our own, so it’s not like you’re going to a department store and you see a T-shirt and it’s cool—you come here and you engage with the moment, the feeling, and you get to be in that space in order to grab that simple T-shirt.”
The Pre-Spring 2015 collection, seen exclusively here, is a precursor to what will be shown in New York during fashion week. Digital prints, block letters, and stripes prevail, and the wardrobe pieces—shirts and jeans—are elaborately constructed experiments in deconstructed basics. The footwear, done in collaboration with Forfex, borrows details from Oliver’s favorite Nikes, Timberlands, and GBX boots. If previous collections were perceived as unisex, this offering is decidedly more in line with menswear.
All brands evolve over time, but Oliver says he feels a responsibility—to his fans and to the fashion industry that has supported him. “It was a passion project before, and now it’s a business,” says Oliver. “I don’t want to let anyone down.”
On Saturday, after a two-day closure, Dover Street Market New York, Rei Kawakubo’s seven-floor multibrand fashion wonderland open since last December, celebrated its inaugural “new beginning,” with just-arrived Fall ’14 merchandise and fresh shop-in-shops. Melitta Baumeister, whose career was catapulted when Rihanna wore her oversize black biker jacket in Paris back in March, and Hood by Air’s Shayne Oliver are two new additions to the store’s fourth-floor DSM Showroom, which is devoted to emerging designers. They join a roster that includes Craig Green, Jacquemus, Phoebe English, KTZ, 1205, Gosha Rubchinskiy, Proper Gang, Shaun Samson, and Sibling. We checked in with the new recruits and a quartet of the floor’s returning talents to talk about Kawakubo’s lasting influence, their new installations, and the “beautiful chaos” that is DSM.
“The Comme des Garçons campaign collaboration with Cindy Sherman in 1994 stopped me in my tracks. I remember being completely blown away,” Baumeister recalls. “So I’m very happy to be with a group of creators [now] that have a mutual understanding on fashion, to be part of a showroom that believes in the importance of creating new experiences of how fashion can be consumed, in a world of beautiful chaos. To be in an environment where the brand is understood will no doubt give [me] the confidence to go further with bigger dreams.”
HOOD BY AIR (SHAYNE OLIVER)
“Going to the Comme des Garçons flagship for the first time here in New York changed my life, and molded my thought process on creating a fashion brand that is meant for you, and only you,” Oliver remembers. “The shopping experience at Dover Street Market is [likewise] unique and special. I think it really works well with the HBA concept and vibe. We want to make people feel immersed in our world, in the whole experience of the brand. [Our shop-in-shop] is a conversation with our customers outside of the traditional realm of fashion.”
“All the Dover Street Market stores have a totally stand-alone and unique way of working. The amazing and forever-changing interiors make for a dynamic and exciting space and experience,” Green says. “The main idea behind our new Fall ’14 space was to put the highly detailed, hand-painted pieces against the raw quality of untreated wooden structures. We used large hand-painted fabric rugs as hangings to demonstrate what the garments themselves have been cut from.
“DSMNY is different to other stores as it’s not really just a store, it’s a destination and an environmental experience, which heightens, celebrates, and elevates the incredible stock they hold,” English says. “In many ways it’s also a mecca for young creatives justifying and contextualizing the work they’re making; [that's what] the London store was for me when I was studying at Central Saint Martins. We wanted this space to [feel] unexpected, sort of like a surprise or a bit of drama injected into a retail environment. The raw naturalism of the collapsed cliff face against the clothes hanging on the suspended rails—something beautiful and refined in a broken space. I [also] wanted it to represent the dialogue of material, which informs each collection. I worked with art director Philip Cooper. It was about balancing the ethos of how I work creatively with the reality of shopping.”
“The opportunity to completely change the space seasonally allows us to truly represent the season’s ideas and concepts,” Roach says. “Our Fall ’14 space remains minimal with the introduction of new square metal fixtures. We’ve introduced stand-alone, industrial two-arm rails to highlight the collection’s fabrication and construction, which remain fundamental. I would like people to touch and try on the clothes.”
SIBLING (SID BRYAN, JOE BATES, COZETTE MCCREERY)
“DSMNY feels like being in an interactive art space but without any of the pretense,” the Sibling trio says. “It’s been fantastic to see how artists and creatives interpret the Sibling vision each time. We loved collaborating with Uncommon Projects [on the leopard shelving and screen unit], Richard Woods [using the catwalk recolored version of his iconic wood print as wallpaper], and now with artist James Davison. We saw James’ work recently via the journalist Charlie Porter. He’d uploaded a video of James’ window display with moving parts and amazing color. It also felt like he’d had fun doing it. All of which is very much what Sibling is about, so we didn’t think twice about working with him and sent him catwalk pictures and a very relaxed brief. Relaxed because we always like collaborative works to come more from the artist.”
Shayne Oliver of Hood by Air had already built a solid fan base around his unique brand of cool before he landed a NYFW show, a Style.com/Print cover, and, most recently, a 100,000 euro LVMH Special Prize. Oliver, 27, had already courted heavy cosigns from fashionable celebrities like A$AP Rocky, Kanye West, and Rihanna. It didn’t happen overnight, but thanks to the LVMH Prize and a CFDA nomination, it seems the seven-year-old brand’s envelope-pushing silhouettes and print-heavy fleece knits and tees have been fully accepted into the institution of fashion. The young designer is competing with Tim Coppens and Todd Snyder for the CFDA’s Swarovski Award for Menswear, and his LVMH Special Prize comes with a year of mentoring from the likes of Raf Simons, Nicolas Ghesquière, and Phoebe Philo. We caught up with Oliver in Paris shortly after the LVMH announcement to talk about what fashion and street culture can learn from each other, music’s enduring influence in clothing, and how he’s training a new generation to think differently about style.
Congrats on winning the Special Prize. That’s gotta be exciting.
Yeah, it’s exciting and fulfilling. It feels really cool.
You’ve achieved success by creating your own lane in fashion. How does it feel?
It feels great. It’s kind of like the point of the whole Hood by Air project: pretty much reappropriating and reassessing all of culture, the validity and the concepts of streetwear—these concepts that are involved in fashion but are only looked at as “trends.” Personally, that’s kind of like the point of it. It feels good to be heard and that some people get what you’re saying, instead of always being seen as some sort of loose creative, conceptual person or conceptual brand.
The interesting story, too, is that you guys have built your fan base and succeeded outside of the institution of fashion. A lot of people feel like they need the cosign of an Anna Wintour or a Karl Lagerfeld before they’ve “made it.”
To me, the fact that you had a rabid fan base who came to you organically, especially in the new age of the Internet, is the new “making it.” Is there a valid legitimacy from being recognized by the old guard, or do you feel like you’re part of a “new rules” aspect of the industry?
I think it’s a little bit of both. I think that the old guard is kind of like a platform. I guess both worlds have to meet, and eventually it’s the beginning of a realization for both worlds—the new kids prove that we’re here, and the older crowd realizing that we make the rules in a way. We know what we want to see and we don’t have to wait on anyone to do it.
Regardless, it’s gonna happen, you know? I think that happens all the time—for instance, when Yves started ready-to-wear. Before then it was always couture, and it became a thing from couture to actually showing collections in this way, having ready-to-wear collections that were not for the masses, but outside of the realm of, like, having people come to your atelier. It’s like a new form of ready-to-wear in a way. I think that one of the things that we did do successfully was make this Internet world a reality, physical.
As a black designer, how do you feel about your work being recognized on such a big scale?
Coming from that perspective, race and all that stuff…that’s why I kind of like don’t consider myself a designer. I wasn’t formally trained, and I’m also doing this as commentary. It’s almost a backhanded compliment to fashion, showing fashion that it doesn’t control all its rules in a way. The amount of energy that comes into fashion from—I wouldn’t say “streetwear,” because I never really connected with that term, but I’ll say “street culture” in a sense, it has affected fashion in so many ways.
It’s the kind of thing where we’re taking it back but also owning and being responsible for our own influence on individuals, instead of constantly being the people that work behind the scenes, consulting for people, being star socialites or these public figures, you know—these style icons. I think now it’s a thing where it’s like, “We’re gonna own it, we’re gonna be the group who produces it and sells it to you.” Instead of it being an unknown wave of influence or this magical thing that no one knows about or miraculously came out of nowhere.
There have been comparisons made between HBA and punk, but there’s definitely a difference between hip-hop and punk in the sense that brand awareness is part of the culture, and a lot of its proponents are minorities.
Yeah, it’s always been that way. In the beginning, rock ‘n’ roll was sort of like HBA, where it was at first “all these black people being wild and crazy,” and then all of a sudden rock was just seen as a white thing, that sort of thing. Now it can’t necessarily happen like that anymore because of the Internet—it’s very visible and you know where things come from, but more than anything, I think that we’re using the tool of the Internet to make it not happen again. Instead of fighting it, we just want to live out and do what we do the best way possible, instead of having to wait for it to trickle down so many generations later on. I think even looking at Hedi [Slimane] and the silhouettes he uses—they are very rock—it took so long for that to be considered fashion.
Kurt Cobain wouldn’t have walked in a fashion show, but Tupac walked in Versace, and A$AP Rocky’s rapping “Hood by Air, yeah I started that”—hip-hop culture prides itself on aligning with fashion and appropriating labels. It contrasts with DIY and anti-consumerism attitudes in rock.
It’s the same thing, but it’s different than when Tupac walked Versace. Then, it was like they were buying it because it had nothing to do with the hood. It was about the exclusivity of that, and this was more of like an acceptance of, like, something that nobody knew about that was emerging. That was what made it exciting for Rocky to embrace it, that’s what he meant by he “started it.”
HBA is a thing where even though it’s successful, it’s not full mass. It’s not everywhere, and we’re very selective to who we sell to. Even though we’re way larger than we ever were before, it’s still—in the sense of the luxury market or whatever—we’re still holding back and we’re not as accessible as these other brands are. I feel like that’s a new form of luxury that started in the BAPE era, where BAPE was so far away and was a Japanese thing. There’s like a reverse thing happening now in Asia, HBA’s so popular in Asia. I want people to feel like they have to work toward that feeling of obtaining this culture, like paying the price. It wasn’t meant to be an asshole thing and gouge people on the price of a T-shirt, it was more of like you paying for this, paying to be a part of it. You’re buying into a thing that comes from this culture, this mind state.
When you say you want people to sort of earn their way into the culture, is part of that putting on the clothes and steeling up the necessary confidence to proudly wear them in public?
Yeah, exactly. I think right now I’m just basically training a generation. What I want to do is train a generation to accept a new way of dressing, a new way of being, and a new way of approaching ideas and concepts within themselves, or even the idea of who they are as a person. I don’t think there’s much now that speaks specifically to “now” or a present and a future person. Everything has its reference point of being like, “Oh, it’s very boho” or “It’s very something,” you know what I mean? I want HBA to be a thing where it’s “very HBA” when you see it. That’s partially why I push the envelope with the shows, and the fact that I keep it very community-based. I feel like these ideas, when they come from a genuine place, it becomes its own entity. We can create our own reference points as a generation.
What do you hope to learn from the year of mentoring from LVMH?
Well, for one, I wanted to set a standard for the ideas that come out of the brand. I think that this is kind of like a validation in a way for certain people. For the fashion community, I just want them to understand that it’s not just this thing for a certain group of people—it’s like these ideas are valid, and they are “fashion” ideas and concepts, they’re not like this thing that eventually no one cares…so that is one thing that I think the mentoring and the experience of being involved with the LVMH thing does. I really want to get a grasp on the things we don’t know, which is like the actual fashion luxury aspects of fashion, the technical support, the techniques, production quality, and having actual luxury goods come out of the brand.
And make it scalable?
Exactly, so it’ll be a thing where the feel of the fabrics are better, the quality is higher, the technique of print—all the techniques and the things that you would learn in school, which is what I didn’t do. I built my aesthetic first, so now I feel like I’m looking into a fashion, not norm, but the luxury side of it, the business, the technique of fashion, and actually making really great, amazing clothing for people to wear.
With just four days to go until the 2014 CFDA Awards, the editors here at Style.com are placing bets on what Rihanna will be wearing on the red carpet and who will be taking home the big prizes. Many of the nominated designers already have a growing collection of CFDA trophies in their respective offices (Marc Jacobs clocks in at seven), so it’s the announcements of the three Swarovski Awards for Emerging Talent that we’re most eagerly anticipating. Whether they come out on top or not, all ten of these noms have already won the endorsements of influencers ranging from A-listers to industry insiders alike. Where would Shayne Oliver’s game-changing Hood by Air label be without A$AP Rocky’s early support? Or Rosie Assoulin without her pal Leandra Medine (and The Man Repeller’s 590,000-plus Instagram followers)? Our own award for best ambassador of up-and-coming brands goes to Lily Aldridge. At an amfAR event back in February, the model earned bonus points for rocking Assoulin’s ethereal, off-the-shoulder number in addition to a sculptural choker by jewelry nominee Marc Alary.
The panel of experts has spoken, the votes are in, and today we can announce the twelve talents who will move on to the final round of the heated LVMH Prize for Young Fashion Designers competition. Atto by Julien Dossena, CG by Chris Gelinas, Gabriele Colangelo, Shayne Oliver’s Hood by Air, Jacquemus by Simon Porte Jacquemus, Miuniku by Nikita and Tina Sutradhar, Thomas Tait, Tillmann Lauterbach, Tim Coppens, Simone Rocha, Suno by Max Osterweis and Erin Beatty, and Vika Gazinskaya will go head-to-head for the award’s 300,000 euro grant. A slideshow of the designers’ looks is available here.
But wait, you might be thinking. Weren’t there only supposed to be ten finalists? Yes, but LVMH’s team of forty industry insiders simply could not decide after surveying the work of the competition’s thirty semifinalists during an event at Paris fashion week. “It’s so hard,” offered Louis Vuitton’s executive vice president Delphine Arnault, who has been spearheading the initiative. “When we compiled the votes, four designers all had the same amount, so we let twelve in. I think it’s good.” We’re sure the finalists would agree.
The dozen men’s and womenswear designers, who hail from round the globe, will each have fifteen minutes to present their Fall ’14 collections at the LVMH headquarters in May. Judges including Karl Lagerfeld, Raf Simons, Nicolas Ghesquière, Marc Jacobs, Riccardo Tisci, and others will consider their efforts, and later choose a winner. “All the [LVMH Prize] designers are really enthusiastic,” offered Arnault. “I’m sure the contestants are nervous, but at the same time, it’s an amazing opportunity to meet all these people.” In a room filled with powerhouses like that, we’d be nervous, too, but the final twelve can take solace in the fact that at least one prestigious juror has been in their shoes. “Karl [Lagerfeld] started his career after winning a prize, but he told me there were 200,000 applicants, not 1,200 as we’ve had,” relayed Arnault. “Karl even had to sit and draw in front of the judges to prove that someone else hadn’t done his sketches for him.” As for the eighteen semifinalists who didn’t make the cut, they can take solace in the fact that they’re eligible to apply again next year. “I’m sure they must be very disappointed, but I hope they see it as an opportunity. And I hope we helped them to make some key connections in the industry.”