In the exchange, Oliver discusses the early days of HBA and how the brand inspired multiple brands and yet was judged differently because it was viewed as an independent label.
Check out time stamps for highlights below.
00:01: How Oliver and Isiah met: “Shayne used to pick me up from my retail job at Urban Outfitters in SoHo.”
00:08: Creating a foundational style: “It was an opportunity where we were able to be ourselves in clothes.”
00:18: How their upcoming prepared them for fashion industry criticism: “
26:22: HBA x Been Trill collaboration: “That got taken a little out of control.”
00:34: Opinion on bootleg HBA merchandise. “It’s so funny, they’ll go even more black than we ever went.”
00:36: HBA graphics taking inspiration from gay and delinquent culture. “The context is so lost.”
00:37: The origin of the name Hood by Air. “At first it was when I was doing it by myself the brand was called Elite Urban Brigade, it was about getting dressed and being cute…coming through!”
00:46: Founding members of HBA.
00:53: The dynamic of collaborating with brands: “People think they’re going to work us out. They think they’re going to get black validation, they’re gonna get all the streetwear kids…..”
01:01: Fashion editors not giving the label credit for understanding references: “They would be surprised when we knew references.”
01:04: Black excellence versus black creatives: “People are focused on black excellence not black creatives, so black creatives are not being pushed to the forefront.”
01:08: “Kevin Amato is lit.”
01:13: Controlling your influence: “If you’re not capitalizing off of it, why even show?”
01:14: U.K. scene lacking in comparison to the United States: “They have such an opinion on culture because they cultivate things and refine them.”
01:20: Protecting your creativity: “Why is your homework on line?”
1:31: The future of HBA: “Now it’s about creating a foundation for the history and the business. That’s the steps I’ve been taking lately.”
01:36: Aphex Twin graphic: “The collection that season had to do a lot with specific things, to be honest, we were trying to do things that were really cutesy but extremely evil and in the mind, twisted minds.”
Interestingly, Frost chose not to bring up A$AP Rocky’s lyrical take down of HBA and Been Trill in his 2014 single “Multiple,” a noteworthy moment because Rocky was known for his support of the brand and walked the label’s runway the year prior.
That said, Oliver is likely alluding to issues with Rocky wearing HBA at 28:45 when he states, “Certain rappers we were like, it got on him, and then it got out of control and it was a whole ‘nother consumer that we didn’t even know how to control and we had to then like take advantage of that. Everyone thinks we were being shady but we were just trying to control the brand.”
Check out the exchange below.