In her Cyborg Manifesto, Donna Haraway imagined a future wherein individuals unite, not by identity, but from affinity (“affinity: related not by blood but by choice”). Such is the tribalism of Shayne Oliver’s Hood By Air. The brand is a uniform, a new mode of affinity crafted out of old subcultural dress codes, specifically those which manifest around music: hip-hop, house, punk, goth, and rave.
The HBA uniform this season looks like a Matrix fantasy (it’s supernaturally immaculate) engineered from bits of Trash and Vaudeville, Hackers, and 80’s and 90’s New York nightlife; it’s Harlem ballroom genderqueer meets cyberpunk meets street. Black leather trenches are embossed with jersey lettering. Tan Timberland 6-inches are pedestaled by Teddy Boy soles. Tracksuits come decaled in Seditionaries lacing. To call out these references is not to call HBA derivative — its quotations are embraces, gestures of kinship.
The HBA show yesterday lasted over twenty minutes, which was four hours and two tabs of Molly too short for me. The music was GHE20 G0TH1K awesome—by the end, most of the brand’s benched fans were grinding in our stadium seats, watching hard bodies Vogue in bondage jeans.