Re:Generation: Shayne Oliver & Victor Osborne
By Out.com Editors
Hood By Air�s humble beginnings came in 2006 with the creation of a small-scale line of T-shirts emblazoned with the word hood. Two years later, after three successful collections and the chance to art direct disco-dance revolutionaries Hercules and Love Affair, the label�s designer, Shayne Oliver (above left), has found himself at the helm of a full-fledged menswear brand. Making a convincing case for recasting urban culture as new glamour, Oliver is influenced by and pays homage to the streets of New York in his line of sportswear and outerwear. �New York changes as dramatically as the times do,� he says. �There are people that make it more exciting or push it forward, but as far as representation goes, it really depends on what the mass population presents.� Or, in some cases, what the freewheeling atmosphere of one of Oliver�s favorite hangouts, legendary New York gay bar the Cock, offers as inspiration. �People get wild in New York, but it has some pretense behind it,� Oliver says. �People at the Cock are there to get dirty regardless of their occupation, class, race -- or fashion sense.�
Twenty-five-year-old Victor Osborne�s (above right) custom-made hats -- which range from sleek chapeaux to over-the-top cocktail numbers trimmed with fluorescent taxidermied mice -- are inspired in part by iconoclastic New York City designer Stephen Sprouse, who �changed people�s perspectives of what fashion is and could be.� A runway favorite, Osborne is now turning his attention to collaborations with other New York artists, an experience that has triggered new ways of reconceptualizing the city he calls home. �New York is becoming smaller and smaller, and there�s no longer a clear division between uptown and downtown, East Village and West Village,� he says. �It�s exciting because we are all experiencing the same thing at the same time.�
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