On Wednesday, February 8, Project Runway All Star and Denver fashion designer Mondo Guerra teamed up with Goodwill Industries of Denver for an evening of fashion, food and fabulous finds at the second annual Good Exchange For Change Fashion Show & Clothing Swap. The event was held from 5:30 PM to 8:30 PM at the sprawling EXDO Event Center in Denver, CO. Guerra's involvement both years stemmed from his enduring soft spot for Goodwill: "I'd go to Goodwill and tear old clothing up and really study them and make flat patterns from them; that's really where I got my start," he told the audience.
The fashion show featured original designs using repurposed Goodwill clothing by students from Goodwill's youth programs at Denver School of the Arts and CEC Middle College in Denver. Guerra judged the fashion show along with fellow Colorado Project Runway alumni Fallene Wells and Julie Tierney, the latter sporting an enormous fuzzy white hat with earflaps that practically enveloped her entire head. "We've given them $100 to buy articles from Goodwill and their challenge was to repurpose that look into something new that was ready for runway," Guerra said of the student competitors. The big winner just happened to be the event's only male contestant: Uriel Moreno! His design featured an amazing pair of long, straight-legged black leather (pleather?) shorts paired with a green sweater with sleeves made of the same black leather, a plaid collar, and pops of color at the cropped, zippered cuffs. The 17-year-old modeled his creation with all the aplomb and conviction of a runway pro, posing and turning perfectly on cue. One couldn't help but feel that we were witnessing a mini-Mondo in the making. Watch out for this young man! From our perspective, his future looks quite bright.
In addition to judging the fashion show, Guerra auctioned off an original outfit from his collection. However, most attendees seemed more interested in groping the chevron-patterned black and white dress with matching yellow belt and half-gloves, which was inexplicably left on display unguarded in a public area, than actually placing bids. Wells and Tierney also auctioned off high-fashion looks repurposed from Goodwill clothing. Proceeds went to benefit Goodwill's youth services programs in 28 metro area and Northern Colorado high schools. The unexpected comedic highlight of the night: perhaps due to the fact that it was a silent auction AND drinks were being served, the evening's hosts had a really hard time reading the name of the winning bidder for Guerra's design. We're just going to assume they figured it out in the end...
To participate in the clothing swap, guests were asked to bring ten items to swap with other attendees. This was the most time-consuming part of the entire evening, what with all the lugging of clothes, organizing of clothes, hanging of clothes neatly on racks, browsing said racks of clothes politely, then ripping the neatly organized racks of clothes apart like packs of ravenous, fashion-starved wolves, with absolutely no regard for human life OR common courtesy, the exact SECOND the actual "swap" part commenced. Within minutes, the once-packed racks were filled only with empty hangers swaying in the breeze, already eagerly awaiting next year's festivities.