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Take What's Yours: Hood By Air's Official Empire Merch Is Here

In the world of ancient Greece, there existed nine divine entities whose sole purpose was to inspire creation. There was Eurterpe, muse of music, and Calliope, HBIC of epic poetry and chivalry. But for all their genius, the Greeks were remiss to leave out the most powerful muse of them all: Cookie Lyon, fashion muse and destroyer of all things punk-ass and stupid. If you haven’t already paid your respects, now would be the perfect time to do so.

After all, the goddess of Empire’s fictional Lyon Records has already inspired cult-like obsession. From having whole blogs dedicated to her closet, to unending listicles of all the times she’s “slayed,” “killed the game,” or was simply “the baddest bitch,” it seems as though everyone’s joined the church of Lyon. But no follower is more devout than Hood By Air’s own Shayne Oliver.

Earlier this year he spliced the queen of chaos’ tirades with music and blasted it during his February fashion show, so inspired was he by her wild, give-no-shits energy. But it wasn’t enough; like any good devotee, he’s here to turn non-believers into raging, foamy-mouthed fanatics. That’s why Hood By Air is collaborating with Empire to create the show’s first official merch. This means high class hoodies and shorts galore, all emblazoned with mugshots of the mother and her dueling sons, and only the finest Cookieisms (But does she ever spit anything less than absolutely truth? Studies say, “no.”) It’s a match made in heaven that could only be further perfected if we were in the middle of it all, like a wondrous sandwich of bad bitch fashion. 


So what is it that makes Cookie, played by the no less awe-worthy Taraji P. Henson, worthy of this kind of awe? The more appropriate question would be what makes us think that we deserve to wear her mugshot on our frail, trash baby bods in the first place. In Oliver’s words, Cookie is ,”a boss, doesn’t take shit, doesn’t comply with any sort of male rules.” For him, she exudes the same sort of energy that can be found in Lil’ Kim and any one of Dynasty’s ambitious femmes. That is, she’s rough, she’s tough, but she remains above all else, a lady.

Which is why her best moments deserved to be immortalized forever. High Priest Oliver understands that fact, which is why he turned this seemingly benign pillow into the world’s deadliest backpack.

Think about it. Take a second.

Think about it. Take a second. Still don’t recognize it?


It was only the very same pillow Cookie used to almost-murder her ex-turned-rival Lucious Lyon.

Yeah. He fucked up.

At the same time, this collection is heavily inspired by the designer’s own upbringing in Queens, New York, “all the boys in the oversized Hot 97 Summer Jam tees, all the West Indian girls in the printed Gallianos and Moschinos.” What better way to pay homage to the queen of queens? 

The collection officially drops at midnight, so get ready to fight it out in the trenches of online shopping. Worst case scenario, you can always have your assistant cop them for you.


Empire x Hood By Air is available on 11/11/15, at HBA’s website.

Images via Tumblr and Vogue.

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