It warmed my heart when I saw a new Instagram post from Hood By Air. It was even more exciting, I’m sure to all, that there would be a tell all of what happened and what was to become of it. It had been 2 years since the unforeseen halt to everyone’s favorite streetwear brand. Loyal fans such as I were left waiting in limbo, commenting words of encouragement like “We miss You!” and much more. There were so many questions left unanswered. What had happened? Would there be a resurgence or would we simply have to live in the greatness of what HBA had been for everyone? Founder, Shayne Oliver, was still making strides as a designer with projects such as Helmut Lang Seen By Shayne Oliver but what was happening with HBA?
On Wednesday, Shayne Oliver spoke with Kanye West for Interview Magazine to cover what he’d been up since January 2017. During his reign, Shayne was a road paver for the ones less traveled and it worked so well in his favor. HBA was always walking against the grain for shows and collections. Whichever grain that may be…
HBA set the tone for streetwear to come, the genderless, provocateur collections were recherché for many, but intriguing to all. It was less about the sales and more about breaking boundaries, the art, and the narrative of a collection. In the interview, Shayne spoke about his intention behind his new designs, hibernation, experimentation vs commercialization, the future of HBA and much more. A favorite piece from the interview was both, Kanye and Shayne’s take on the pressures placed upon creatives to create without passion.
I felt this…
“SHAYNE OLIVER: It was getting to a point where I felt like I was being held to an extreme level. Hood By Air had these emotions and this ethos that I respect, and I wanted to continue respecting that as much as possible. Am I meant to constantly be working on something without knowing exactly what I’m aiming toward? I didn’t really feel like it was healthy. I felt like I needed time to learn a bit about myself. That’s really why I took a break.”
“WEST: Having the blessing or opportunity to be a creative should always be therapeutic, not stressful. I feel like people really need to see the McQueen documentary to understand the level of pressure that is put on creatives when we’re forced to put out things that we don’t believe in.”
I also felt this…
“You can’t just always be an open book for people. You have to close the door and you have to say, “Okay, now it’s time for me to be private.” – Shayne Oliver
Head over to read the interview in full. It’s really what we needed this week for young creatives just trying to make it through.
I think that these jewels of wisdom are so important for us to understand. The basis of being a creative is synonymous with freedom. We’re supposed to turn to our art for respite from the constraints of society. The freedom of our voice and the freedom of our souls is what our art is for. Atleast, it is for me. It should never be exhausting…maybe sometimes when you’re giving it your all and you’re passionate about it. But never negative. When society is particularly interested in what you have to offer, they squeeze you until the fruits of your labor are juiceless. Having the juice or the sauce is the cool factor that everyone wants. But confusing your timeless creations and talents with one moment trends for monetary gain is what we must pay attention to. Shayne wanted to maintain the beauty of his creations instead of just trying to out do his last collection. “What is the purpose of this?” I think it was such a healthy decision. In this “Moment” generation, we have to understand what is healthy for us and when to know if we are risking the integrity and beauty of what we love so much just to keep that high. It’s like when you go viral. After one time of going viral, you can get caught up in your next way to go viral again. But really the reason you went viral in the first place was due to an organic moment. Nothing contrived.
There are times where I go months without making a piece of art. Not because I don’t want to but because there has to be intention and energy behind it. I won’t even work with a client if they don’t appreciate my vision and work. Also, if it’s just empty, 10 times out of 10 I’ll hate it. Don’t feel the pressure to forcibly produce greatness. Understand that you don’t have to put out something you hate. Time constraints are a man made structure. Fuck em. Be like Frank. Be like Rihanna. Be like Shayne. Be like Kanye. Be like Solange… (We’re going to get into her greatness in the next post because Whew Chile)
“I kind of respect the way that music does it, where you release an album, and then the tour and promotion is all just based on that thing you created in the studio for a really long time. ” – Shayne Oliver
Remember that patience is a virtue and time will wait for you to put out greatness. Don’t validate yourself based off of the opinions (sales etc) of others. Your cool factor is you staying true to yourself. Blossom in that idea and you’ll grow abundantly.
Check out the HOOD BY AIR Spring/ Summer 2017 Collection “HANDKERCHIEF”
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