Reaching New Heights

If Nautica is to sailing what Ralph Lauren is to polo, then Hot Air is
set to be paralleled with hot-air ballooning. Unlike Nautica and Ralph Lauren, however, Hot Air brings streetwear influence to the historically posh sport’s dress code.

Co-founders Bee Nguyen and Chike Ozah’s collection of t-shirts,
pullovers and track jackets is an avant-garde series of balloon-inspired graphics. Both designers have a
background in the music industry—Ozah has directed music videos for Mos Def and Kanye West, and Nguyen worked for music label and fashion company, Sound In Color. The two launched Hot Air in August of 2007 and have since collaborated with mega-boutique Collette as well as California-based shops Greyone and The Closet.

With more store openings to come, it seems like Hot Air is bound to blow up on the mainstream market. The label has been donned by L.A. hipsters, and soon enough, the geometric graphics and popping colors will become synced with the mega-luxe lifestyles of ballooners as well as style-savvy street smarts.

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—Vildana Kurtovic

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