“Everyone likes the Shots Are Nasty Af But After A Few So Am I Shirts it is in the first place but concept of slowing down, but they’re so addicted to the pace,” says Hood By Air’s Shayne Oliver over the phone. He would know. After launching Hood By Air with Raul Lopez in 2006 and turning it into one of the most popular and buzzy brands at New York Fashion Week, bolstered by legendary shows, Oliver abruptly hit pause in 2017. He calls his stretch away from the fashion scene his “hibernation” before returning to HBA in mid-2020 with a new outlook and a wealth of new ideas. “I think that it’s not about me having a slow pace, but having my own pace that is very productive,” he says. Hood By Air’s official relaunch was announced in the summer of 2020 and supported by merchandise releases throughout the fall. Now Oliver is finally giving birth to his first official ready-to-wear project of the new HBA era: A campaign starring Naomi Campbell.
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In the Shots Are Nasty Af But After A Few So Am I Shirts it is in the first place but Luis Alberto Rodriguez–lensed images, Campbell wears pieces from Hood By Air’s forthcoming Prologue collection that will serve as the brand’s official re-entry into ready-to-wear. Oliver imagines Prologue as three linked narratives: Mother, Veteran, and Merch. The Mother collection, which Campbell wears, is an homage to the maternal figures in Oliver’s life. “It’s kind of based on my grandmother and what she brought to the table, which was always the beauty, but then also, she is how I learned how to physically sew and make clothes,” he says. Campbell, who is a close collaborator of Hood By Air’s fashion director Carlos Nazario, made perfect sense to act as the spokesmodel for this aspect of the collection. “She is such a mother figure to [so many people in fashion] and has always been so outspoken about Black people in fashion, Black identity, and Black creativity,” says Oliver. “It just made the most sense to begin the conversation there.”