K8 Hardy’s ‘Outfitumentary’ Tracks Her Evolving Personal Style and Identity
With “Outfitumentary,” Ms. Hardy, 45, who exhibited sculptures, photography and a fashion show at the 2012 Whitney Biennial, seemed to anticipate the prevalence of “fit pics,” “outfit of the day” photos and selfies on social media. But the film is also a fascinating self-portrait of Ms. Hardy’s gender expression in a specific time and place. She stopped shooting only when her miniDV camera broke, in 2012.
Ms. Hardy showed up for the interview below, which has been edited, in a metallic blazer that shimmered in rainbow colors, a tie, a button-down shirt, jeans, pink cowboy boots she had found in San Antonio and triangular Gucci sunglasses with rhinestones on the top. (“I buy very few designer clothes, but occasionally accessories,” she said. “These make people happy.”)
The previous night at Metrograph, she had worn a fur coat over a bikini and high-heeled Crocs. The range of these outfits felt true to “Outfitumentary,” in which we see her remaking herself daily, in an intimate performance for the camera, as years pass.
What compelled you to start documenting your outfits?
When I was in high school, I would go to the public library, and in college I searched archives, looking for images of queer ancestors, lesbians from the past, to see what their lives were like. There was not a lot, especially if you started in the ’90s. Now there are internet archives, but then it was really hard to find things that would help me to see a path ahead of me.
So when I started this, I was aware that I was going to make an archive that didn’t exist. I was aware that I was dressing in a really specific way, and I somehow thought it was important. The idea of recording my outfit every day provided a structure. I did not think this would become a film. I went to film school, and I didn’t even tell them that this was something I was working on. I thought it would be something someone might discover after I died and think, that’s cool.