Converging traditional workwear with high-end couture, Hardeman dismantles the parameters of conventionality. At its core the brand draws inspiration from ‘the every-day man.’ Although a seemingly simple notion, it's one that breeds a more complex commentary. Through expressive styling and innovative patterning, Hardeman's campaigns address the neoliberal ideas of femininity and sexuality with a refreshing touch. This of-the-moment approach surpasses their physical presence well into the digital sphere: with Hardeman's Instagram feed hosting a paraphernalia of parodic posts and memetic edits. This inherent candidness is perfectly epitomised within the brand’s agenda to “just make clothes people can wear.”
Hey Sophie, welcome (back) to METAL! To get us started could you introduce yourself and Hardeman to our readers?
Sophie Hardeman is the Amsterdam-born, Los Angeles-based fashion designer behind Hardeman.
Hardeman’s designs encapsulate an of-the-moment perspective combining traditional workwear attire with high-end couture. Known for its flirtation with American iconography while defying myths of mass culture, Hardeman throws conventionality to the wind.
With a focus attributed to American iconography and the exploration of the myths of mass culture, the aesthetic of Hardeman is so excellently curated. Is there an overarching muse behind the Hardeman-esque aesthetic?
Hardeman is inspired by the every-day man. Clothing as a means of expression is an art form all of us partake in. The Hardeman muse isn’t defined by gender or class but rather defies being boxed and just wears what they like.
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In many Hardeman pieces, the conventional forms of denim are challenged by morphing the fabric in warped and unorthodox ways. It’s almost ruminative of the historic use of denim as a countercultural fabric. Why is denim a core component of your collections? Is its rebellious allure something you sought to amplify?
Jeans have gone through much of history as a statement piece, worn to represent ideas of freedom and liberation. While jeans still uphold idealistic mythos of freedom the honest truth is less pretty. The process of creating jeans is a multi faceted production – that on its own is responsible for more than half of garment industry’s waste (globally). We have tracked down our energy input and waste this past year and become successful in creating a zero-waste production circle. This is mostly due to our innovative ways of (re)using materials and incorporating these methods into our patterning and designs.
I have to mention the Hardeman Instagram account: where memetic posts and parodic edits nestle next to ingenious campaign stills and garments. Navigating an age where almost all clientele can be deemed as terminally online; how do you utilise social media as a tool in manifesting the brand’s image?
It’s just a means of self reflection. We are all hyper present online and say so much but mean nothing. In these spaces there is space for conceptual meaning but also just to be funny and take things with a grain of salt.
Previous press has focused largely on the gender-free aspect of Hardeman and, as a by-product, the subversion of neoliberal ideas of femininity. Is the creation of gender-free garments something you recognise as a core descriptor of the brand or rather is this part of a larger conveyance to channel total freedom and self-expression?
Nothing about what we create is merely political – we don't create just to change standards, Hardeman just makes clothes people can wear. We just do our thing and I guess thereby are bringing change in the way we treat one another.
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The creation of ‘visual essay’ campaigns for your collections, often through short accompanying videos and inclusive displays allow for broad accessibility to your work. This method is something which you have ascribed to your time at the conceptual Rietveld School of Design. Beyond this, how would you say your education has influenced your creative process?
The Gerrit Rietveld Academy is a very experimental art school. It’s not very big but it’s quite international and all the departments are intertwined. The best asset from studying at Rietveld was learning to collaborate, that you don’t have to do everything on your own.
The Hardeman Instagram bio states: “Hardeman 4 everyone...” As the brand evolves can we expect this inclusivity to be mirrored in the newest drops and collection?
We are always looking to meet new people to collaborate with. Shoot us a message.
From the bold, self-stated I Love Horny tee, to the more nuanced nipple cut-out tanks and Tanga G-string-jeans, sexuality is so refreshingly explored within your collections. How do you play with the intersections of fashion and the notion of ‘sex positivity’ within your work?
It's really up to you and what you take from it. Frankly pushing a ‘sex forward’ agenda can be quite boring and not exactly inclusive. We should just be able to wear whatever we want, without having to carry connotations of sex – or body positivity.
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