Mondo Guerra, the fashion designer who came out as HIV-positive on Project Runway — and went on to win Project Runway All Stars — spoke with Khafre Abif at the U.S. Conference of AIDS. Standing in front of Guerra's yarn bombing art installation, Positivitrees, the two HIV-positive men spoke about Guerra's family, activism, and fashion design. Watch the interview segments below.
Guerra began by explaining the impetus behind the Project I Design Positivitrees:
Guerra describes the Positivitrees, explaining the different designs, and how they represent his own journey coming to terms with his HIV status. At first, he was closeted and afraid, but slowly he opened up and finally reached a point that HIV no longer defined him.
Guerra talks about coming out to his Mexican American family about his positive status. Although he was terrified how they would react, their first response was to tell him how brave he was.
Although his family hadn't really talked about HIV or AIDS while Mondo was growing up, once he came out, they became advocates, educating others in his community.
Does Guerra ever regret coming out so publicly about his HIV-positive status?
Abif asks Guerra about how he balances his activism and his fashion design work. Guerra replies that it can be difficult. But he's excited to announce he'll be designing clothes in regular women's sizes. In the past his clothes have only gone up to size 6, but he realized that his mother and sister cannot wear his designs, and is setting out to rectify that situation.