大氣騰飛/HOOD BY AIR. SHAYNE OLIVER

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採訪/INTERVIEW :SPITZ
撰文/CN :Serruria

聽過Hood By Air沒有?沒有聽過名字你也一定會見過他們的設計,因為饒舌歌界時裝人ASAP Rocky身上經常有Hood By Air的設計出沒。隨著越來越多的暴光率,品牌已經躋身前線。除了ASAP Rocky帶來的名氣,Hood By Air更能引起我們Spitgan興趣的是,他們對於街頭服的進取發展方向。品牌並不是又一個大量生產hoodies或只是印上圖案的T-shirts,設計裡卻處處注重衣服形態、剪裁和物料,取向就像其他已經成名的設計師如 Walter Van Beirendonck, J.W. Anderson等。

幸運真的會突然降臨,那你猜我們在上海的YOHO Street Convention裡碰見誰?正確, 就是Hood By Air的設計師Shayne Oliver。當時在閒逛的Shayne在人群裡特別突出,擅於辭令又為人大方的Shayne友善地接受我們Spitgan突如其來的訪問。以下Spitgan會為你報導當時的對話,千萬不要錯過。

Hood By Air, you’ve heard of them? Well if not you’ve probably seen their work. Rap-fashionista, ASAP Rocky has been really repping them hard, so surely you’ve seen it on young’n. If not you’ve probably seen it in his wake. Fashion bibles have jumped on the train as it gains steam, bringing the brand itself to the forefront. Besides the notoriety that ASAP Rocky and co. have brought the brand, Hood By Air really piqued SPITGAN’s interest with its progressive approach to streetwear. This wasn’t another brand of hoodies and T’s with some graphics, clearly. This was a brand pushing at silhouettes, cuts and materials a la some other upstarts in the fashion world like Walter Van Beirendonck, J.W. Anderson and ilk.

So as luck would have it, who do we run into in Shanghai at the YOHO street convention? Yep, yep, Shayne Oliver, Hood By Air, roaming around, and clearly standing out. Well-spoken and chill, Shayne was real cool to give us an off the cuff interview, and chop it up with SPITGAN for a few. Check it out.

(English continued after Chinese)

SPITGAN – 品牌是甚麼時候開始的?
SHAYNE OLIVER – 2008年。但之後我們停下了兩年半,到2012春夏才再開始。原因是如果我們要達到自訂的作品要求,我們需要挺多的準備。我們不希望被生產程序或不良品質煩擾,所以我們便等到各方面也成熟再重新推出設計,這樣我們就有充裕的時間去重新評估品牌的大方向和思考到底我們的品牌是甚麼。

SG – 工作上會有週期性的壓力嗎?好多跟Spitgan聊過的設計師都表示面對生產流程時會有壓力,尤其是當市場有越來越多不同系列推出。
S – 我沒有感覺過這種壓力,至少不是在設計感或構思系列時。唯一的壓力可能來自分送衣服到不同的店子,或組織一下衣服系列,讓買家知道自己買入的是甚麼。

SG – 這是不是現在行業的現實?你會說,對於年輕的設計師,如果要有大發展就必需要有商業的知識嗎?
S – 對啊,我的意思是說對於商業,你一定要比以往認識更多。你想想,每一年有多少設計師一同競爭設計的工作空缺,好多商業社會裡的人都分不清誰是誰。所以自然地,作為一個設計師你也可能要有一定的商業精明頭腦去應對。

SG – Hood By Air是不是從一開始就有Hip Hop的支持者?或是品牌是被他們影響?


S – 對啊,大概就是這樣。我生活在紐約,成長在紐約。我會說品牌是建基於一個存在於hip hop裡的概念世界,一個沒有人談論更沒有人觸碰過的世界,只因為現在大家都認為Hip Hop是一種娛樂。其實有好多東西都有Hip Hop的影響在裡面,Hip Hop其實就是一種生活的文化,實實在在有人活過的生活。你不能夠說某東西只是一項Hip Hop,Hip Hop是一種生活態度。Hood By Air也只不過是一種Hip Hop的生活態度,而生活態度同時也影響著Hip Hop.

SG – 說得很對。可以說作品的形態來自於這種文化,但是作品本身也把這種文化的傳統面貌慢慢改變,尤其是把傳統Hip Hop的樣式以新的形態展現作品上。
S – 就是這樣,但是我想這是已有的情況,而這也是Hip Hop好能牽引我的地方。這些風格都已經在我腦海裡存在,我見到現在發生著甚麼事、人們在創造和玩些甚麼玩意,我只是把一切都帶到前方展示。

SG – ASAP和品牌的關連是如何促成的?
S – 透過Venus X,我們以前一同做過DJ,我們在紐約的Ghetto Gothic裡做過派對。她和ASAP有聯繫,ASAP支持了我們品牌好久,他最喜歡的設計都來自2008-2009。當Venus X和ASAP見面時談到原來她認識我,之後的所有東西都來的很自然。我們現在好像家人一樣。還有呢,我們雖然一起成長,但是我不知道他是做音樂的。ASAP是我一個很好的朋友,在那個“ASAP”企劃成型以前我們已經認識了。

SG – 你也是來自哈林區?
S – 不是,我來自Brooklyn。我和ASAP都是群體裡的外人,雖然聽起來有點奇怪但是,雖然我們不是在同地區長大,我們都是在充滿創意的環境下成長。

SG – 紐約的夜生活和派對文化是不是開始融合?人們都從不同的影響提取著甚麼元素,然後滲入自己的風格?
S – 老實說,我不覺得“紐約生活”還存在。長久以來紐約都是由一群年輕一輩主導著文化場面,甚至他們擔起定義這場面的代表。雖然這樣說,我覺得現在還未是時候讓新一代擔起大旗。我們這一代的所有人都好有野心,甚至留下了一個斷層。現在的生活方式很繁忙,而且人人都忙者一些大範圍的東西。可以說現在已經沒有小型地道的元素去玩,人人也專注在影響世界,卻忽略影響社區一環,你知道這是甚麼意思嗎?社區是我們生活的地方,是我們長大的地方,我們愛和欣賞我們從何而來。但看現在,因為人與人溝通的方式已在改變,我們都注重更大的領域,而不只是在自己的城市。那種態度就像是我們已不想培養我們的城市何本土,反之是想城市提升至國際舞台上。所以我想現在已經沒有甚麼叫做“社區”了,除了在一些非常年輕和有性格的群體裡。他們的聲音可能沒有被聽到,畢竟他們還年輕。這群人例子有Wavy Spice,非常厲害的藝術家,還有Ro Rock Moonjuice,歌手,我不知道他的名字是不是這個,至少我認識他的時候是這個名字。還有好多其他的年輕人,他們最熟悉自己的社區,然後他們自己就構成了紐約的社區元素。

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SG – 很有趣。那你當DJ時會玩甚麼歌?
S – 日程太忙,我們現在很少DJ了,但是我們通常在Bushwick這個地方玩,就在一些由於是非法所以沒有地址的貨倉裡面玩,哈哈哈。我們都想保持這樣玩,也試過在更城市的地方玩但是…好像不太對調。

SG – 哈哈,那回到談設計。你來這個行業,你念時裝的嗎?
S – 不是。我一開始是念藝術的,然後轉去念Fashion只是因為我想而已。但是我沒有好技術性地讀,因為我覺得這樣只會限制了我。甚麼影響了我?所有東西。在設計來說,我真的不能夠單單指出一個設計師名字,我欣賞每一個人做的事。我覺得設計師如Gaultier或 Nicholas Ghesquierre都好成功,我覺得他們和我的想法也一樣,設計不是關於技術,而是表達。注重表達後你就會越來越有技巧,因為你思想裡已經沒有限制說甚麼叫對甚麼叫不對。我想這個就是構成天才的成因。

SG – 這個YOHO Street活動對你來說是成功的嗎?
S – 對,我覺得成功。

SG – 好像很多人也認得出你來呢。
S – 我沒有想過會這樣。我是一個很內向、“內部”的人。我工作是因為我想有啓發還有做有趣的事,所以我走下了天橋而留在工作室。這個活動的成功對我來說很新鮮,非常好,好到讓我想更努力工作。

SG – 作品質素對你來說重要嗎?
S – 重要。對於作品質素,開始的時候還沒有現在那麼重視,因為現在更多人買我的作品了。開始的時候意念先行,更重要的是我要把腦海的意念成型。現在作品質素變得更重要了,我覺得就是腦海裡的奢華成型時的必經之路。一個大型的概念本身是一種豐富、一種奢華。現實裡的奢華都是來自於大概念和高品質產品的協作。

SG – 我也覺得這很重要,因為現在雖然有很多其他的街頭服品牌冒起,提升質素一定是下一個層次。
S – 這是無誤的。下一季我就在這一點下探索了很多。下一季將會注重剪裁和布料的運用,會是很突特的想法,一種為品牌吸納更多支持者的一著──心機投放在作品質量上。

SG – 你的衣服作品都中性嗎?
S – 嗯,我製作男裝。我很鼓勵人把女裝和男裝的元素都加進去。我覺得整個都unisex會十分沉悶,“嗨我是unisex的,我沒有任何取向”。甚至不是甚麼取向的問題,只是性別身分。否認自己的性別身分是很錯的事情,我覺得大家都不應該害怕去探索兩個性別的界線。但是對於我來說,我是製作男裝的,這個沒錯。

SG – 可以給我們一些你創作生涯裡的亮點嗎?
S – 我會說是…和買家的經驗,就是當有買家來到而他們又欣賞我的時候。我從來沒有甚麼目標說要被買家看中之類的,所以當我遇到欣賞我的買家時,我會感覺非常好。我們剛剛被紐約的Barney’s看中了,這令我很興奮,因為那是我成長裡面重要的地方:當我尋找意念和點子時,或想看看新事物或感受何謂奢華時,我會去Barney’s尋找靈感。這真是非常厲害。其他的事情雖然就順水而來,但是看到有人能夠真正理解到我的作品,感覺真是很好,更甚的是他們還願意投資在你做的事情上。

SG – 那關於攝影作品或其他媒體呢?你的衣服似乎經常被feature
S – 我對於這個是挺偏愛的。我很喜愛編輯們還有他們的概念。但是個人來說我只是想看見有人穿上我的衣服而已,這就是對我來說重要的事。在天橋上展示作品是展示我的原始概念。我不反對有人把一個有趣的concept提出來然後在雜誌上非常亮眼地展示,來讓我有新衝擊。我還在等那一刻的到來,我想被我的作品衝擊一下,在不同的表現方法下。

SG – 像是在一個全新環境下
S – 對!就是說我從沒有想過的表達手法。我好喜歡看到品牌在他人的傳繹下如何影響人,我覺得這樣很厲害,好像是散發一種完全不同的能量。有設計師是專門做一系列的時裝話題作的,我不是這一個範疇,我希望我的設計是一個大家能理解的概念,很不一樣。不過我很欣賞個人風格爆發的力量,所以我沒有甚麼說反對的。

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(English Con’t)

SPITGAN – When did you start your label?
SHAYNE OLIVER – It began 2008, and we took a break for 2 and a half years. It began again in Spring Summer 2012. It had to do a lot with fulfilling the production we wanted to. We felt like we didn’t want to deal with the meanial production, and production quality. So we waited until it was right for us to relauch, which also gave us time to re-assess what the brand was about.

SG – Do you feel that work cycle pressure? A lot of designers we speak to feel the pressure nowadays of having to make that production schedule with more and more collections being put out.
S – I don’t feel the pressure of it per se. Not in the sense of design and creating collections. The only pressure is with delivering to stores and organizing (the collection) enough for them to know what they are buying into.

SG – Is that the reality of the situation now? Would you say for young designers you need to know something about the business to prosper?
S – I mean you definitely do have to know much more about the business than you used to. Just the influx of so many people applying for design positions, its harder for people who are business-minded to kind of decipher who is who. So by default you automatically must have a business savvy mindset coming in.

SG – From the onset did you always have a hip hop proponent to Hood By Air, or influence from it?
S – Yeah, its kind of based off of that. I mean I live in New York. I grew up in New York. I would say its based of the conceptual world that lives within Hip Hop. A world that people don’t talk about and is not touched upon much because people consider Hip Hop to be a form of entertainment, nowadays. There are so many things that Hip Hop culture influences. Hip Hop is actually based on a living culture that people actually live. You couldn’t say its just Hip Hop, it’s just how people live. Hood by Air is not so much about a Hip Hop lifestyle as the lifestyle that influences Hip Hop.

SG – Yeah, definitely. You can see your forms come from that but you are definitely push the traditional forms of Hip Hop into some new silhouettes.
S – Yeah, well I think they already pre-exist, and that’s what intrigues me about Hip Hop. These styles pre-exist in my mind. I already see what is happening, what people are trying to create and play around with. I just bring it to the forefront.

SG – How did the ASAP connection come about?
S – Venus X who I DJ with. We do parties in New York called Ghetto Gothic together. She was in contact with him and he had been a fan for a really long time. He liked pieces from the 2008 – 2009 era! So when they got in touch and he found out that she knew me, it just all made sense. It became like a family. Also, we all grew up together but we just didn’t know that they made music! ASAP Ari is a good friend of mine, I knew him before the ASAP thing was really happening…

SG – Are you from Harlem too?
S – No, I’m from Brooklyn. So we were like the outsiders with their crew. That’s how its seems weird because we didn’t grow up in the same areas but we grew up in the same community of creatives.

SG – The nightlife style, the party scene in New York, is it starting to all come together? People taking bits and pieces from other influences and mixing it with their own?
S – I don’t think the New York lifestyle even exists anymore to be honest. I think what’s always been true about New York is that there is always a group of younger people that acquire the scene and they take it on upon themselves. Having said that, I don’t think there is a moment yet for the next generation to come in. For our generation, I feel like everyone has been so ambitious that it has left a gap. The lifestyle now has become about hustling and doing your art on a wide scale. In a way there’s no more home town turf to play around with. Everyone is focused on affecting the world, as opposed to affecting their community, youknowwhatimean? We all live it. We all grew up around it, love it, and appreciate where we come from. Right now though, because of the way communication is changing, we are all focusing on a larger path, as opposed to cultivating our city. The attitude is we don’t want to cultivate our city, we want to make our city transcend into the world. So there isn’t that much of a community that exists at the moment, except for the really young kids that are really cool. They just don’t have the voice yet because they are so young. People like Wavy Spice, she’s a really good artist. Ro Rock Moonjuice, he’s a singer. I don’t know if he goes by that name. That’s what I know him by. Also other kids, that throw stuff in their neighborhoods, they are the community of New York.

SG – Interesting. What do you play at your DJ nights?
S – We play very rarely now because of our schedules but we usually play them in Bushwick, in warehouses with no address because they’re illegal. Hahah. So we try to keep it that way. We tried to do them in the city but.. it didn’t work out.

SG – Hahha. Back to design. Coming in to the field, you studied fashion?
S – No. I studied fine art at first. Then I studied fashion because thats what I wanted to do. I never really studied fashion in a technical sense because I think that it creates limitations. My influences? Everything, design-wise, I couldn’t name one designer. I appreciate everyone for what they do. I think people like Gaultier or Nicholas Ghesquierre are huge. I think they think the same way where its not about the technical, but expression. That leads you to become more technical because you don’t have limitations to what you think is appropriate. I feel like that is what makes these people geniuses.

SG – Has this event been successful for you, YOHO street?
S – Yes it has.

SG – It seems like a lot of people recognize you.
S – I didn’t think it would be like that at all. I am a very internal person. When I work I do it because I want to innovate and do stuff that I think is interesting. So I go from the runway to my studio. This side of it is something new for me to see. Its great, its really cool and it makes me want to work harder.

SG – Is quality important to you?
S – Yes. At first it wasn’t, but now with more people consuming the product it has become more important. At first it wasn’t because it was more about the idea, and translating this concept I had in my mind. Now it is becoming much more important, and I think that is when a luxury mindset becomes ‘a thing’. High concept is a luxury in itself. Actual luxury comes from the collaboration between the high concept and the real quality of the product.

SG – I think it is important too because there are a lot of street brands coming up, but that’s the next level.
S – For sure. For next season I’m playing a lot with that. Its going to be very based off of cuts and fabrications. Its going to be a very singular idea, that kind of creates this tribe for the brand. Just speaking on it quality-wise.

SG – Are your clothes androgynous?
S – Um. I make menswear, and I highly encourage people to incorporate both womenswear and menswear into it. I think the whole unisex thing is very boring. ‘Oh I’m unisex. I don’t have an orientation…’  Not even an orientation, a sexual identity. Denying it is wrong. People shouldn’t be afraid to play with both, but I do consider my line to be menswear. Yeah, for sure.

SG – Can you give us a highlight so far of your design experience?
S – I would have to say…um…with buyers. When they come in and appreciate what I’m doing, ’cause I never had the objective of being sought out by buyers. So when I see buyers appreciate what I am doing, it just makes me feel good. We just got picked up by Barney’s New York. That was really exciting for me in the sense that something that I grew up on; I know as a go-to for ideas and concepts, for whats new or what’s luxury, has acknowledged the brand. That’s really cool. Everything else comes with the territory but it’s really good to see people actually ‘get it’. AND that they’re willing to invest in what your doing.

SG – What about photoshoots or other media? Your clothes are now getting featured quite a bit.
S – I’m biased about it. I love editors and the concepts they bring across but personally what I want to do is have people wear it, so that is the importance to me. When I do it on a runway, that is the initial concept that I have for it. I am not opposed to someone bringing a concept to the table in a magazine and having it be amazing, to kind of like startle me. I am waiting for that moment. I want to be startled by my own work.

SG – Like in another context…
S – Yeah! Like I never thought about it that way. I love that the label has affected people in that way where they feature it in a story, that’s really cool. Its like a different energy. There are designers that do editorial pieces and they do it purely for that. I don’t necessarily do it for that, I hope it is a concept that people will understand. Its different. I do love creative individuals’ energies, so I am not opposed to it at all.

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