FRIEDEN F/W20 x Dimme Van Harten

Since its birth in the Netherlands in the early 1990s, the subculture of Gabber, also known as Hardcore, has had a long history of right-wing misappropriation. Its aggressive aesthetics often linked Gabber to violence, xenophobia, and neo-fascism. In the beginning of the 2000s, far-right political parties such as Stormfront Nederlands (SFN) used Gabber events as recruiting opportunities, flooding the scene with racist and nationalist ideologies. This kindled its right wing following as well as many violent acts against minority groups by the so-called “Londalejongeren”(Lonsdale Youth) – which later escalated to become a national problem, dubbed as the“Lonsdale Youth crisis". The coverage of these clashes led to the Dutch media eventually portraying Gabber as neo-Nazi music.

Even though DJs and producers around the world spoke out against this issue,the confrontations, vandalism, and discrimination continued. A multitude of die-hard fans, who did not conform to the look of a white skinhead or who identified with different sexual orientations, chose to avoid Gabber parties in fear of physical assault. Years later, and albeit the scene has changed, echoes of the past are still present. 

Early days of Gabber looked much different. With roots originating in Black culture, many of its headliners were of various cultures such as The Dreamteam, The Dark Raver, and Bass D, attracting an equally diverse audience. Genres like HipHop and House heavily influenced its music and fashion at the time, and continue to do so today. Gabber means “friend” in Dutch and derives from the Hebrew word “chaver” (friend, comrade – חבר). Gabber is fast and loud, but not prejudiced. It’s an outlet to relieve pressure and frustrations, but would never go against a person's gender identity, sexual orientation, belief, or skin color.

HARDCARE is a project that is taking a stand against racism and right-wing appropriation in Hardcore. Made in collaboration with Dutch artist Dimme Van Harten, the project aims to showcase a different side of the subculture that deserves more attention; a tolerant, passionate, and caring Hardcore – a place for self-expression. This is HARDCARE.

Photography by momo Conzen / Art Direction by Dimme van Harten / Models: Kenneth and Nick

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