Mondo Guerra: Interview

And I was interested that given the message behind the pattern you put together, it certainly didn't seem to weigh down how vibrant and passionate the garment was. There was so much life in everything you create on the show.

I don't do that. I don't find inspiration from things that make me sad. I wouldn't be the same person if I was that kind of artist. It's so cliché, but the glass is always half full, not half empty, for me.

The other thing that I've learned on the show is that you seem to be quite the chameleon. I mean, if I was your friend in Denver, would I even recognize you all of the time?

I am quite a chameleon. I dress for the day. I think the good thing about waking up every day is that it's a new day and that's a gift. You have to live that gift. And I like to play around and keep people on their toes, so what better way to do it than through fashion?

How did you first get into becoming a designer? It seems like a lot of your early pictures and such have a lot of rave influence.

In high school, i was kind of a super nerd. I played piano. I graduated early. And when i had extra time, i would start going to parties, and that whole subculture, the rave subculture, back in the mid-90s was so different and accepting, I was able to be who I felt I was, and be someone different, and experiment with who I am as a person, and as a person visually. So, it really allowed me to express myself through fashion, so that's how I got into it.

And was Project Runway something you were always a fan of?

I've been a fan of Project Runway. I watched several seasons, and you know, watching it, every season, I'd be 'I can do that, totally.' But once you're on the show, as much as you think you can do it, it's a million times harder than what you can imagine when you're sitting on the couch watching TV.

What's been the biggest surprise?

The best surprise is... I live in Denver, and I've always kind of been this kooky, weird, whatever adjective you want to use to describe me or my aesthetic, and it really confuses people or people might be intimidated by it. I get teased a lot, just people don't understand it, so living in Denver, a lot of people don't understand what I'm doing or what I'm trying to share. And being on the runway, in front of experts, who are critiquing my work, I really felt like I was received well and understood and accepted for my work, and that was probably the best feeling.

And we've got a few more episodes yet, and a lot of people are rooting for you to be in the final four and to show at Fashion Week, so we'll see what happens there. What do you have planned after the show?

I need to get my shit together, to tell you the truth. I was working as a stitcher in a theater before this all happened, so I don't even have business cards. People are asking me: Do you have a website? Where can I buy your clothes? And I'm like, I live in Denver, I don't have business cards, or a website, so I need to get my stuff together so I can start building my business, and striking while the... what do they say? while the kettle's hot? So that's really what I'm doing right now.

And since we're a gay youth site, was your own coming out a big dramatic thing?

I was in marching band, and I had a best friend -- her name was Stephanie -- and I came out to her, and she wrote me this long mail. Actual mail. If you can remember when you actually had to write mail...

Yeah, I'm old enough to remember mail...

And I still have that letter, and I kept it close to me all summer. And at one point, I was thinking about it, and I was in the car with my Mom, and I just told her, 'Mom, I'm gay.' And she was like 'No, you're not.' 'It's a phase.' And I was like, 'No, I don't think this is a phase.' I think it was hard for her, but that was almost 14 years ago, so teenagers now are so much more open-minded. And things have changed so much. We've been exposed to many things on TV and magazines. And I don't know, I can't speak for them, but I think it makes it a little easier.

Comments

625539's picture

Great interview! nothing is

Great interview!

nothing is permitted. everything is allowed.

DDRobert's picture

I think this guy lives in my

I think this guy lives in my building