Pret-a-Reporter

MADE LA: The Best Street Style at Hood by Air's Fashion Show

DJ Jefferson
Steven Crispin (left) and Frank Nadolny

There was no shortage of edgy and unconventional looks at Saturday's presentation in downtown Los Angeles.

It’s dark, it’s dirty, there are men holding handbags, women in jerseys and a concentrated cacophony of feedback and shrieking screams blasting over the speakers. Yes, this is a Hood by Air fashion show. It's nothing short of spectacle, to say the least. 

On Saturday, HBA designer Shayne Oliver and his cult-like following took over DTLA to present the brand's "Hallways" capsule collection at WME/IMG's MADE LA event at L.A. Live. Given that the brand's fans are all about Oliver's daring, gender-defying clothing, it came as no surprise that the street style scene was just as captivating as the show itself. 

Pret-a-Reporter took to the streets to see what HBA supporters wore to the presentation and what the brand means to them.

Valentine Uhovski, head of fashion and art partnerships at Tumblr (left), and Olga Rei, editor-in-chief of Art Ruby

What is your favorite moment in Hood by Air History?

Uhovski: I am a really big fan of Hood by Air. I've been following them since the beginning; I loved their Fall/Winter 2016, the Daddy collection. I really liked how they took over Wall Street.

Rei: Honestly, I love Boychild. I love Boychild on the runway — she is so amazing.

In your opinion, is there a right or wrong way to wear Hood by Air?

Uhovski: [The wrong way is] when you party in Hood by Air.

Rei: I don’t know, it’s in my DNA, I can’t explain it; it is either for you or not.

Shan-Poo, singer/songwriter

How did you hear about the show?

From my homie from New York that works for Hood by Air; she just told me to come through.

In your opinion, is there a right or wrong way to wear Hood by Air?

I used to wear Hood by Air as a kid; it’s a New York brand. If you’re wearing it just to wear Hood by Air, then it’s the wrong way.

Elliot Reed, performance artist

How would you describe your look today?

Today is like, number one, wanting to be the tallest person in the room, and I’ll leave it at that. It’s hard to see over all those people so I wanted to come prepared.

What do you love about Hood by Air?

Something that really resonated with me in the show was probably like all the graphics and everything. I can’t remember exactly, but it said, "minority culture," or "minority" something. But I really resonate with the fact that Hood by Air takes fashion street trends and updates them.

Cruz Valdez, photographer/stylist

What is you’re favorite moment in Hood by Air History?

I don’t know, I mean, I feel like there is a lot. They did some really nice, pleated wide leg pants like two seasons ago, I’m still definitely thinking about. I want to say it was fall 2015, the collection on Wall Street.

What does Hood by Air mean to you?

I think it means New York, luxury and street. I think there is like, a real authenticity to that, because I feel like sometimes people do those things, try to incorporate those things into their brand but they don’t feel authentic — but [Hood by Air] does. And I think [HBA] is really challenging not only gender roles in fashion, but also what it means to be like the head [of a business] — as a queer black man at the helm of a fashion brand. I think that’s a really significant statement in terms of their identity politics.

Mia Marbell, artist/TV personality

What does Hood by Air mean to you?

To me it means like, elevated, luxe and wearable. Because it’s fine to have a crazy outfit, but if you can’t wear it then what is the point? All of these pieces, you could wear [them]. That’s important to me as a woman, like I could wear any of that stuff.

How would you describe your look today?

It’s the Carrie Bradshaw 3000.

Justin Morales, student

What does Hood by Air mean to you?

Hood by Air started off as ghetto gothic, and I love the fact it sort of represents the outcasts and the people that aren’t really featured in the high fashion magazines and the mainstream.

What do you love about Hood by Air?

The fact that Shayne Oliver taps into this whole idea that is very subversive to fashion is very Vivienne Westwood, and I adore Vivienne Westwood.

Davonte Squire, rapper (left), and Temsgen Keleta, rapper

What does Hood by Air mean to you?

Squire: Shit, counterculture. You know, the whole idea of Hood by Air and having black gay males is very wild, and it’s not just gay people.

Keleta: Ahh, crazy, not crazy, but it’s very expressive crazy like crazy in the head. I honestly feel like everyone has the same type of crazy in their head and they are just making all those people come together at once and express that crazy.

What was your favorite look from the show?

Squire: Did you see the guy with the pink dreads? Yeah, that red holster he had on went crazy!

How did you hear about the show?

Keleta: My homie is a photographer for Hood by Air, and I got other homies that model for Hood by Air.

Steven Crispin, hospital employee (left), and Frank Nadolny, model

What does Hood by Air mean to you?

Nadolny: It’s hood ass — it’s tight because it’s like ratchet ass fashion, it’s hard. They’re all in there — all like, flamboyant, but they’re all gangsters. F—, they are all throwing up their set, it’s so cool to me. And if you think of someone that is fashionable, you think of someone that is feminine or soft; but you can wear a skirt and still beat the shit out of anybody on the street and I like that.

What is you’re favorite moment in Hood by Air History?

Nadolny: When they first started using all of the tattooed dudes like Sonny and all them.

How did you hear about the show?

Crispin: My brother was in the show. They were having a open casting call and I reached out to Walter [Pearce, HBA casting director] and he was like, "Yo send some pics," and I did. I was actually supposed to be in the show, too, but then another model showed up.

What do you love about Hood by Air?

Crispin: Picking up random people. They take like, the opposite of what a stereotypical model is and invite them to the show and give them an opportunity.

Walter Pearce, Hood by Air casting director

How would you describe your look today?

I got the connect at Nike Lab.

What was your favorite part of organizing the show?

It’s really cool getting all of the L.A. street cast kids to do it.

Ayler Young, designer/artist/entrepreneur

What was your favorite part of the show?

I was kind of shocked because not everyday do you see a New York jump-off in L.A. I was impressed by how they kept moving, you know they felt very confident — most people can’t move and act so weird so easily. It sort of gave off a nice vibe. Every single piece that I saw in that show was iconic.

What does Hood by Air mean to you?

I think it is a sense of freedom, free to express and be weird and enjoy your life — to use your life as your artwork and your body as your canvas. Not to do the same thing twice, you never saw anything that looked like that in your life, and it’s completely original and inspiring to see people be that free.

Gil Venivici, model/stylist/designer

What does Hood by Air mean to you?

It’s like something that’s creative, creating their own vision, their own way, and their own vision of fashion. It's tight though, it’s like a personality, it has its own personality. I f— with it a lot.

How would you describe your look today?

I just really put on clothes, I never use mirrors, I just put on clothes. I’ve asked the homies like, this look straight? Alright, f— it. I don’t really think too much, and that’s probably my style.

Corey Sanagustin, student (left), and Layla Shapiro, stylist

What was your favorite look from the show?

Sanagustin: I liked what the singer dude Yves Tumor was wearing. He had, like, the crazy boots and the white flowing shit that was tight.

Shapiro: The grey crew hoodie that had another hoodie attached to it and it looked almost like you could fit two people in it. Two peeps, one hoodie.

What does Hood by Air mean to you?

Sanagustin: First words that come to my mind are probably like ghetto couture or ghetto gothic, or something along those lines.

In your opinion, is there a right or wrong way to wear Hood by Air?

Shapiro: The right to wear Hood by Air is to wear it where it doesn’t belong. Like, if you wear a sweater, you wear it as a scarf, like multifunctional.

Ryan Watanabe, student

How did you hear about the show?

Well, I’m VIP. I run my own clothing brand, but I also have a lot of music people and fashion people. Not any huge people, but I know enough to the point that I can come to stuff like this and f— around.

What do you love about Hood by Air?

They are innovative. I’ve been in the fashion game for years and I’ve seen it progress; I’ve seen Hood by Air go from very basic to what they are doing now and it is very cool to me that a company can start from very humble roots and come to this.

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