Black Queer fashion history is yesterday, today and tomorrow. To celebrate Pride Month, each week in June, we’ll be highlighting the contributions of prolific black queer fashion designers.
New York designer Shayne Oliver founded the Hood By Air label in 2006 (alongside a collective of peers like Luar’s Raul Lopez) and has since become a cult designer. Oliver moved to New York from Trinidad and attended Harvey Milk High School which was a safe school for LGBTQIA+ students and soon after he briefly attended the Fashion Institute of Technology, staying there only one semester. Obviously, this worked in Oliver’s favor as Hood By Air was born soon after. While working on his brand, he also worked on his DJing at a nightclub called GHE20G0TH1K. It kind of propelled his career even further. Nightlife can be quite the tool of fashion, often acting as a networking platform. Hood By Air has become synonymous with a genderless approach and creating an inclusive world, with Oliver’s collections featuring androgynous models wearing oversized silhouettes, deconstructed garments and materials. This disruptive approach to fashion has earned her a loyal following and propelled the brand to worldwide recognition.
Hood By Air has become a rising star among the New York nightlife scene, streetwear culture, arts scene and entertainment industry (attracting many high-profile fans). Before the brand created ready-to-wear pieces, designs were originally designed to perform. feed them.
In 2017, Oliver decided to take a break from Hood By Air to restructure the brand to be multifunctional and not just on clothing. In doing so, he worked on a few different brands like Diesel, Longchamp and Colmar, creating exclusive collections that changed those brands forever. Later that year, Oliver was chosen as designer-in-residence at Helmut Lang, reimagining some of the brand’s most iconic pieces, through his own lens. These brands understood that he had a vision that he had to share with the world. Oliver’s talent is probably still untapped. It is so important to know the influence that Oliver has and continues to have on the collective fashion industry.
Just in 2022, Oliver announced the relaunch of Hood By Air and a creative studio program called Anonymous Club in 2020. The studio launch does exactly what it had done previously in mid-August, which was to nurture and raise the next generation. of creatives. The Anonymous club functions as a collective that incubates talents and their projects with each other. Other collectives like this keep popping up, like Heron Preston’s LED studio. So you can see that Oliver has always been in his community and has expanded that community as far as he can. With all the new things going on with Hood By Air, it was our duty to canonize everything he has done for black queer designers, creatives and artists.
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