Hardeman Models From Around The World Talk Love In The Age Of Corona

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Back in February — aka basically a century ago — one of our fav Amsterdam-based brands, Hardeman, presented its ‘Love Harder’ collection. And, as usual (remember their Spring Flung extravaganza for SS19?) the gender-fluid brand didn’t just debut looks with any old ordinary show or presentation.

Instead, designer Sophie Hardeman held a sex-positive speed dating event, reflecting the intention behind the collection of exploring radical love in all its forms. Working in partnership with the dating app, Feeld, models decked out in the range were setup on mini-dates with the audience at The Dance in Manhattan, NY.

“The idea for this collection was to think through questions of love differently, away from the mainstream preoccupations with what ‘love’ is,” explained Sophie, whilst noting that its definition is one that’s “infinitely open, ongoing, and continuous.” It’s an easy extension for a brand that plays happily in the transient and unknown. In Sophie’s words: “Hardeman seeks to create new dissonances: to create more cooperative, relational, and more unpredictable ways of being in the world.”

Nearly three months later — and launching in an entirely new and unpredictable society — that ethos has managed to feel more relevant than ever. While our world (and daily routines) have changed drastically (and with it, our need for jeans and the modern concept of dating) our need to connect with people and experience love — whether platonic, familial, romantic or sexual, from ourselves or others — has become even more critical.

So — in pursuit of love — we decided to revisit that dating day way back, with photos captured at (the now closed) The Dance and thoughts from the models about their own love lives — both before and during-lockdown.

Rhylli

Where are you from and where are you stuck rn?

I was born in Japan, but raised in NY. I’m currently living at home in Bushwick, but I leave my home to go to work. I am an essential worker assembling protective face shields and PPE for health care workers in New York City. 

What makes you fall hard?

Subversion! Anarchy! Passion, individuality, sense of humour and gifts! 

How do you express love?

Sharing laughter/having fun, cooking/nourishing, dancing/joy 

How do you practice self-love?

I like to pay attention to my home/studio environment because my surroundings deeply affect and enhance my mental health. I keep a lot of plants, flowers, incense and plenty of comfortable bedding. I also write in a journal almost every day. When I write it helps me keep track of my thoughts and emotions, which is so helpful when I feel lost or uninspired. 

What are you looking forward to once this is all over?

I’m looking forward to attending barbecues, punk shows, drinking nutcrackers on the beach and dressing cute.

Raven

Where are you from and where are you stuck rn? 

I’m from Eindhoven, but currently in Amsterdam — both are in the Netherlands. 

What makes you fall hard? 

Independence. 

How do you express love? 

Through altruistic affection. 

How do you practice self-love? 

Elaborating on breakfast and daily workouts. 

What are you looking forward to once this is all over? 

I’ll be a ‘free hugs’ advocate, without the banner. But I’m also looking forward to travelling and performing.

Atinka

Where are you from and where are you stuck rn? 

I’m from Brooklyn, but currently at my home in lower Manhattan.

What makes you fall hard? 

Passion — I love seeing someone that loves what they do, loves life, and has strong feelings.

How do you express love? 

With lots of passion. I’m a Taurus and we are ruled by Venus, so expressing love life. I’m smiling now just thinking about it. 

How do you practice self-love? 

Checking in with myself and making sure I stay on track with my goal to be better every day. Also, doing art — that’s life for me.

What are you looking forward to once this is all over? 

I’m pregnant, so I’m looking forward to feeling safe health-wise. I also want to go down South and see what creative life is like there.

Ava

Where are you from and where are you stuck rn? 

I’m originally from Knoxville, Tennessee, but I’ve been living in Brooklyn for three years. I’m currently back at my parents’ house in Nashville, also in Tennessee.

What (or who) was the last thing you fell in love with? 

The “who” would be my current boyfriend; the “what” would be studying art history.

What is your love language? 

It’s a toss-up between physical touch and quality time.

What are your go-tos for self-care while in quarantine? 

Maintaining my usual skincare routine and doing pilates.

Once this is over and you can see all your loved ones again, what’s the first thing you’ll do? 

Go dancing, go to a museum, or have a picnic in the park.

Chola

Where are you from and where are you stuck right now? 

I was born in Austin Texas but I been a New Yorker 11 years now! I’m in my small apartment in Manhattan. My roommate is a drag queen too, so we are keeping each other entertained.

What (or who) was the last thing you fell in love with? 

I’ve been doing drag three years now and have absolutely fallen in love with the lifestyle and community. Sometimes I spend the whole day doing stuff related to my drag — I haven’t been so immersed in something since I stopped acting over five years ago. I’ve also fallen in love with dark chocolate Oreos during quarantine!

What is your love language? 

We are our own instrument in the language of Love. And we use ourselves in so many ways… sounds corny but I’m not sure how else to say what I’m thinking. 

What are your go-tos for self-care while in quarantine? 

Stretching and a lil’ exercise has really helped me. I’m the last person you’re ever gonna see at Equinox, but when you‘re cooped up all day you gotta do what you gotta do to not stress out and melt into the couch. 

Once this is over and you can see all your loved ones again, what’s the first thing you’ll do? 

I’m going to support my drag sisters and go to their shows. It’s gonna be a slow ride back to normalcy and I wanna be there for them if it’s a rough start.

Hazkel

Where are you from and where are you stuck rn? 

I’m from an indigenous reserve in the Limon province of Costa Rica, but currently living in NYC. I’m stuck in Brooklyn, baking pies and dancing to techno with my roommates all night. 

What (or who) was the last thing you fell in love with? 

Vintage Prada.

What is your love language? 

My love language is a kiss — I’m Costa Rican and for me, there’s so much I can say with a kiss.

What are your go-tos for self-care while in quarantine? 

Masturbation, anime, art-making and food.

Once this is over and you can see all your loved ones again, what’s the first thing you’ll do? 

Make a giant feast. 

Maya

Where are you from and where are you stuck rn? 

Oakland, CA, and right now I’m at my parents’ house here.

What does love mean to you? 

Transcendent respect, care and acceptance… separate from ego.

How has that definition changed over time? 

It’s always changing! But for me, it feels like I’ve been sharpening the definition of love versus lust and desire.

Who’s your celeb crush? 

Sorry to be obvious, but Madonna and Grimes.

Once this is over and you can see all your loved ones again, what’s the first thing you’ll do?

I will probably be so starved for touch that I will hug all of them and never let them go. I’ll prob also go on some kind of hedonistic spiral.

Sean

Where are you from and where are you stuck rn? 

Dirty Jersey. I’m at my apartment.

What does love mean to you? 

Love is overwhelming. Love is trust. Love is being open.

How has that definition changed over time? 

I guess early on I thought love was supposed to be easy.

Who’s your celeb crush?

Chris Hemsworth… Thor can get it!

Once this is over and you can see all your loved ones again, what’s the first thing you’ll do? 

[I’m looking forward to] travelling and existing in public spaces.

Stazi

Where are from and where are you stuck rn? 

City of Angels.

What does love mean to you?

Love to me means freedom. Love is pure. Love means growth and transformation. Love combats and helps heal the pain one experiences. Love means I have to love myself. Love means communication, forgiveness and fun too. I’m still learning more about its meaning every day. 

How has that definition changed over time? 

My idea of love changes as I become more self-aware and honest with myself. I think a lot of us are working on ways to love healthier.

How do you practice self-love?

Journal writing, skincare, taking time to breathe… Alone time and self expression.

Once this is over and you can see all your loved ones again, what’s the first thing you’ll do? 

*tears of joy*

Jessica

Where are you from and where are you stuck rn? 

I’m from Brooklyn. But as an essential worker for the Dept of Health, I’m stuck in an endless cycle of scary subway rides to the lab and back home where I can’t be in contact with any of my loved ones.

What made you fall in love with Hardeman? 

They design for all body types and they make everyone look so good! You immediately feel like a superhero [in their clothes].

How do you practice self-love? 

I give myself a pep talk, I remind myself how dope I am and say, ‘Okay, now let me go punch today in the face.’

Once this is over and you can see all your loved ones again, what’s the first thing you’ll do? 

I want to hug everyone and tell them what a great job they did overcoming crazy time!

How can we all show some more love this year?

Let’s show more love to our Earth — being united in a goal can bridge gaps across the world.

Tay

Where are you from and where are you stuck rn? 

I’m from Ocean City, Maryland, but I’m in Brooklyn now.

What is your love language? 

Laughing.

How do you practice self-love? 

I paint my whole face, put on lingerie, and lip-sync in my room. I love living in this separate reality by myself for a bit. It keeps me grounded. 

What are your go-tos for self-care while in quarantine? 

The Chloe Tings ab workout is nice. Also, going on social distanced walks with my friend and neighbor Carol keeps me happy. 

Once this is over and you can see all your loved ones again, what’s the first thing you’ll do? 

Have sex.

Will

Where are you from and where are you stuck rn? 

Portland, Oregon. But I’m in a lovely little town called Crozet in Virginia right now.

What made you fall in love with Hardeman? 

Hardeman’s take on American textiles and the creation of an accepting and positive space enamoured me from the get-go. 

What is your love language? 

Physical touch and words of affirmation.

How do you practice self-love? 

Lately, I’ve been writing love letters to my younger self, as well as dancing in front of the mirror while sipping on a nice bottle of orange wine. 

Once this is over and you can see all your loved ones again, what’s the first thing you’ll do? 

First and foremost, I’ll be dealing out very long hugs. Secondly, my friends and I will all need to go out and dance (as long as it’s safe and permitted).

Tyler

Where are you from and where are you stuck rn?
 
Los Angeles. I’m at my college in LA 😭
 
What makes you fall hard?
 
A great smile 😊
 
How do you express love?
 
By being affectionate. 
 
How do you practice self-love?
 
I try not to stress as much as possible. 
 
Once this is over and you can see all your loved ones again, what’s the first thing you’ll do?
 
Throw a party.  

 

Ále

Where are you from and where are you stuck rn?

Born and raised in LA, but been living in Hudson, NY about three years or so! So, I’ve been here spending quarantine in a big beautiful home with four wonderful roommates, feeling really blessed to have them with me in upstate New York.

What (or who) was the last thing you fell in love with?

Honestly, one of my best friends — unfulfilled but I’ve moved on!

How have you been staying connected with people from isolation?

Lots of hours of FaceTime and DMs.

Who’s your celeb crush?

Omg, um, Ryan Gosling in The Place Beyond the Pines or honestly, Choi Woo-Sik from Parasite.

Once this is over and you can see all your loved ones again, what’s the first thing you’ll do?

Hopefully dance really hard somewhere and make out with all of them.

photography MARK FITTON fashion HARDEMAN styling MERLE VAN DER WAL hair SEAN BENNET makeup ALLIE SMITH

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