Surging into prominence on the back of zeitgeist-pushing aesthetics, name-drops from rap royalty and feverish support from the Tumblr generation, Hood By Air has ascended very far, very fast. It wasn’t so long ago that designer Shayne Oliver was videotaping runway shows in his own living room. Now? Oh, he’s big time. “I live my life a certain way and I think that people respect that about me and the brand,” he said of his cult stature.

Evidence was ample on Sunday, as the crowd of HBA devotees arrived for the Spring – Summer 14 show shrouded in garments straddling the realms of streetwear and mortuary attire: Black tees, black leather, black hats, black knapsacks. Ghetto Goth, it’s been dubbed, a nod to the underground parties thrown by Venus X, who was in attendance at Milk. As low 808s rumbled, Kanye West and his Been Trill affiliates filed into the dimly-lit room and took front row seats at the vortex of swirling cameras.

Titled “Gump” and sponsored by Motorola, the latest HBA collection was billed as a “re-definition of Americana’s idiot savant.” Introduced with glowing rainbow circles that represented an artificial dawn, the latest HBA collection was scored with ambient sounds, punctuated by thunderous booms and clashes that sounded like scraping scimitars. There were plenty of logos (and the number “69”) plastered across chests and dangling on beaded medallions, lots of zippers, and nylon ropes of cylindrical tubing inspired by Asian parachutist uniforms.

Androgyny was explored often, both in the ambiguity of models and pieces that were hybridizations of skirts and shorts. “I don’t know what the gender is, but it’s not genderless,” said Oliver, who said the jeans were his favorite pieces from the collection. “That concept is a box, and not something I’m interested in.” Whenever there’s a box, Hood By Air thinks outside of it.

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