The juxtaposition between masculine and feminine, high and low, and especially hard and soft are the basics of Ray Petri’s Buffalo style. The look defined the youth energy of the 80’s and early 90’s as songs like Neneh Cherry’s Buffalo Stance and magazines like The Face and I-D brought it into pop culture. Buffalo style redefined symbolism in clothes, erasing away their historical meaning, and leaving the most cherished sartorial traditions fair game to subversion.
The men’s collections for Fall 2009 evoked Buffalo’s masculine/feminine dynamic, a more expressive alternative to these difficult and hard times. Looks of black, leather, and volume, flirt with notions of masculinity, queer subculture, and androgyny. Buffalo through and through.
In NYC, designers Shayne Oliver and Raul Lopez have added to the Buffalo dialogue with their label Hood By Air, founded in 2006. Taking inspiration from their childhood, their friends, and Banjee* culture. They’ve defined a look that picks up where Petri left off: a seamless mix of forceful attitude, broken barriers between gay and straight, and a street aesthetic that is nostalgic but moving aggressively forward into the future. This three year old label has come to represent the city’s youth, both its urban nihilism and its vivid optimism. The energy is bold, it’s tough, it’s sensual, and as it takes us back 20 years, it is forging ahead into unknown frontiers.
*Banjee- “a term that describes a certain type of person who dresses in hyper-masculine, hyper-modern fashion for reasons that may include expressing power and being attractive … or unattractive”