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10 October 2016

#5 Keith Hioco & Rob Harmsen



The key part of the word 'subculture' is 'sub'. It's the variance from the mainstream that makes it both stand out, yet remain hidden. Can subcultures lose their essence when exposed to an audience too wide? Eat Dust's founders Keith and Rob have been on their bikes and boards since they were children, and started a brand not to ride the wave of trends and hype, but for their genuine interest in denim and how it could be influenced by what they enjoyed within their lifestyle. At Jacket Required spring/summer 2017, the Eat Dust founders analyse Antwerp's subculture influence, and the relationship between subculture and commercialisation.
 
 
What is motorcycle subculture to you both?
 
Keith: For the moment, the motorcycle thing is not really a subculture anymore. You see it everywhere. Everybody has a biker jacket, rents a dude with a beard, tattoos and a motorcycle and takes a picture of it.
 
Rob: Keith has been riding bikes forever, and me too. We didn't start a motorcycle brand – we started a denim brand. 
 
Keith: We were riding bikes before this brand.
 
Rob: From 13 years old on mopeds. We didn't want to do a motorcycle denim brand. We wanted to create a denim brand that was influenced by what we did. Skating, what's happening in Japan with motorcycles; that's how it evolved. We didn't think of doing anything motorcycle related.
 
 
Do subcultures form naturally in Antwerp or are they influenced by the outside?
 
Rob: They are definitely influenced. You have to be really stupid not to know what's going on.
 
Keith: In Antwerp a lot came from LA and Japan. There's more of a European vibe to it but they take their influences from everywhere and then put their sauce on it.
 
Rob: There are lots of popular meetings now, such as Wheels & Waves, and there's custom culture. 
 
Did skating come from musical influences or something else for you?
 
Keith: I think I saw that movie Thrashin' and it started with that. It was a bit cheesy but it had the Daggers.
 
Rob: For me the board didn't exist until I saw one. There was one guy in my home town who was the only one who had one, as his mom brought it back from America. This was 1977 or something and it didn't really exist. I thought I saw a fuckin' ghost – "what the fuck is that?" – but from the moment I saw it I wanted to do that. I was the second boy in my home town to have one. 
 
Keith: Now you've got all these skate brands. Nike Skate. Adidas Skate. Levi’s skate things. I still remember when if you wore Nikes and you skated, you got beaten up.
 
Rob: It was only in the beginning when you couldn't get Vans that you wore Converse. Everybody wanted them but you had to order them from Anaheim in my day. There was only one store in all of Holland that had it.
 
And they were the go-to?
 
Rob: Of course. The US skaters were wearing them. The Chuck Taylor was a basketball shoe, and all the skaters only had them because there was nothing better to skate in.
 
Bearing in mind your first answer, do you think 'sub' still exists?
 
Keith: I think it'll come back after a while because now people are into the motorcycle thing and soon it'll be something else.
 
Rob: It's going to go away and we're still going to be riding. I started skating at eight, until I was 16, when it kind of disappeared. It kind of went away but now it's here to stay. It took a long time to be accepted as a sport. It used to be something kids would do.
 
 

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Words By Karlmond Tang - karlmond.com | @karlmond

Photography - Impossible Project

 
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