Interview with Alicia Hardesty of “Project Runway”


AE: I want to talk to you about something that’s very important to me, and that something is pockets. Why are the pockets in women’s jeans so frigging tiny?

AH: Oh yeah. I hate that. It’s one of my biggest pet peeves in womenswear. The pockets always suck. Or, they have fake pockets. During the competition, I was told, “Well just do faux pockets.”

I was like, “You don’t understand! I cannot – even if I’m running out of time – fathom not putting pockets in them.” I just can’t do it. So yeah, I totally hear you.

AE: What time and place in fashion history would you say is your favorite?

AH: I am really into the 20s. There’s something whimsical about it. Coco Chanel got women wearing pants, just by her wearing pants on a boat. It started a revolution in womenswear, especially with women wearing pants. I like that.

AE: What you think people will be wearing in 100 years? In some science fiction movies, everyone’s wearing Mylar onesies, and in others, they’re basically wearing sweaters.

AH: I more picture a change in materials. I think with the rate we consume everything on this planet, I would hope there will be a lot less waste. If materials and resources are limited, I hope we are going to see recycled materials, conscious choices, or more intentional garments that are for more than going out on a Saturday night. And a lot less of Forever 21’s mass amounts of really, really cheap clothing.

AE: Have you heard about the other store, Forever 39? They sell yoga mats and wine.

AH: That’s funny.

AE: Okay. It’s time to play, “Fashion Questions Specifically for Lesbians.” Ready?

AH: [Laughs.] Yeah.

AE: What is the most common mistake lesbians make when it comes to fashion?

AH: The most common mistake is that we don’t always wear clothes that fit. I don’t know what’s happening. I think the biggest misconception is that you have to be “into fashion” to pick up things that are decent, or fit you. If you feel more masculine or you like to dress more masculine, it doesn’t have to look boxy, or be oversized. You know I’m saying?

AE: Clothes for the fashion conscious butch are hard to find. Women’s clothes are too girly, and men’s clothes are cut for men.

AH: That’s the problem. This is why I’m doing Original Tomboy, among several other reasons. I definitely think there should be more [choices] out there. Because we have to get to a state of mind where lesbians are at one with how they look, not only fitting into the world, but making a stronger and better statement for lesbian fashion.

AE: The few niche stores, online or otherwise, that are catering to the butch woman all seem to favor an urban look. How do you plan on marketing Original Tomboy’s Kentucky couture?

AH: I’m still sort of getting my ducks in a row and who I want to market to. It’s hard for me to gauge how successful [it will be] until I have my product ready. But I’ve had a couple of people reach out to me for fashion shows and things like that.

AE: Fashion shows are perfect for getting your name out there but I rarely see the unwashed masses wearing runway outfits to the grocery store.

AH: Whenever I design, I think more about detail and functionality. Comfort and materials and colors are very important to me. It’s more about creating something overall that’s really cool and will look good on several different kinds of people.

AE: I like it! Speaking of looks, how long have you had dreads?

AH: It’ll be nine years in October. It took six months to a year to start dreading properly but I do them myself. I went to a salon once in Brooklyn, but besides that, I’ve been doing them myself the whole time.

Photo credit:: Lifetime Television

AE: Do people ever mistake you for Whitney from The Real L Word?

AH: Oh yeah, that’s happened a couple of times. And then, I’m like, “Really? Don’t do that.” I mean, I’m not hating on her. She’s doing her thing. I just don’t want to be compared to her.

AE: Well, when they mistake you for her, you could explain who you really are and talk about Original Tomboy. It’s an opportunity to gain another fan. Use her notoriety to your advantage!

AH: That’s true. That’s true.

AE: Do you ever clash on styling issues with your girlfriend?

AH: No, not at all. She’s amazing and she always knows what she’s talking about. She’s my go-to person for fashion feedback.

Photo courtesy of Alicia Hardesty

AE: Have you ever been with someone whom you felt compelled to give a makeover?

AH: [Laughs.] I haven’t been with anybody that was that bad. There were other things I could have changed…

AE: It doesn’t matter now. You’re happy.

AH: Yeah.

AE: On that note, I’m going to leave you with one word that I want you to remember for the rest of your career.

AH: All right.

AE: Pockets.

AH: Trust me. It’s there.

Watch Alicia bring her tomboy fashion sense to Project Runway on Lifetime, Thursdays, 9PM/ET. And VOTE TeamAlicia. Tomboys deserve to win things.

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