On Saturday night in Los Angeles, Hood By Air presented a special collection called “Hallways” to a crowd of friends, family and ticketed fans as part of fashion showcase MADE LA. Staged in a dark and smoky enclosed tent, nearly every sensory element of the post-apocalyptic presentation attested to the foreboding tension that seems to be overshadowing American society at the moment. The label’s creative director Shayne Oliver invited musician Yves Tumor to lead a troupe of models to aggressively collide into each other.
Each model in the show fought for a place on the mound, trying to carve out and claim their space in the built environment. Like frenetic molecules, the models never stopped moving – a charged energy kept the pace going, reinforcing a constant uphill struggle to maintain status and agency. The performance itself (whether intentional or not) seemed highly site specific – HBA provided a stark contrast to the languid, sunny backdrop of LA and the stereotypes of Hollywood.
“Make no mistake about it, there was no ‘runway’ here — the traditional catwalk was transformed into a model moshpit reminiscent of a not-too-far-off dystopia”
The audience was literally involved in the experience, as members of the crowd were shoved around as the performers ran in and out of the space. You didn’t know when or if you would be pushed next and how hard. All you knew was that if you were about to get hurt, you were in it together. Suddenly, the person standing next to you became a security blanket, creating a sense of forced cohesion and community. Every aspect was considered, culminating in a fully immersive experience that engaged all senses: sound, sight, touch, feeling and smell.
The collection itself was marked by oversized cargo pants, super-long sleeves and the trademark HBA iconography. Hardcore industrial overtones responded to (and rejected) traditional shapes and sizes of clothing, with a nod to a rave goth silhouettes constructed in soft sweatshirt material. Make no mistake about it, there was no “runway” here – the traditional catwalk was transformed into a model moshpit reminiscent of a not-too-far-off dystopia. With make-up characterised by the look of blood, crosses and texture, the symbolism was self-evident.
Although images do not do the presentation justice, Hood By Air immersed and engaged their audience into a revelation that was at once traumatic and beautiful. They continue to lead the charge, challenging the medium of fashion, and not just in terms of shows – certain items from the show were available immediately online, direct from their website.