SEE Eyewear recently opened a new San Francisco shop downtown in the Palace Hotel building, and they celebrated with wine, creme brule, $100 gift certificates, and most excitingly: Project Runway All Stars champion Mondo Guerra in the flesh! As per usual he was showing plenty of that in the leg department, sporting a Topman suit that he dyed (to camouflage a stain left by a friend who borrowed the jacket) and cut off into shorts, “because that’s what I do.” Another thing Mondo does, besides win contests, is collaborate: with Neiman Marcus (his prize for winning All Stars), Lord & Taylor, and now SEE Eyewear. “Mondo for SEE” won’t be available until early spring, which is past the expiration date of the gift certificate I’m giving away. But do not dispair, SEE has a slew of amazing, fashion-forward frames, which is why Mondo already owns more than a dozen pairs. For your chance to win a $100 SEE Eyewear gift certificate, all you have to do is “Like” Stylenik on Facebook, and I’ll choose a winner randomly next Friday! Fun, yes? And for even more fun, read below what Mondo had to say about his glasses collab. I love him!
After a passerby grilled Mondo with some very pointed questions about his hair color (he uses Manic Panic and dyes it approximately every three days, if you’re interested), we found a spot out on Market Street’s sidewalk where it was slightly less noisy than the party.
Stylenik: So how did this collaboration come about?
Mondo: I wear glasses, and one of my friends told me about SEE Eyewear so I stepped into their shop, and I became addicted! I love their customer service. The price points are really amazing too. Now I own 14 pairs. So when they asked me if I wanted to do something for them I said, “Of course!” I mean I’m addicted, and I’m a consumer in more ways than one. And they really gave me a lot of room to do what I do as a fashion designer.
The first colleciton is really paying homage to what they do and what I love about them. So there will be a lot of classic silhouettes, but a little wink and a nod from me with my signature prints and a lot of black and white and bright pops of color. It’s going to be a lot of fun, but it’s also practical and very wearable. We’re in prototypes right now so I actually haven’t seen any of the frames yet. I got word that’s two week’s out so I’m really excited and a little scared! Because you know how that is… it’s the same thing when you’re making garments. You get a sample back and realize someone got really creative. But the main reason I wanted to do this is becasue as a creative person I’m always looking for new outlets to express myself. The process—the process, that’s all it’s about—the process of doing eyewear, I don’t know about it. Everything that I do really involves a lot of emotion and a lot of devotion and a lot of concentrated creativity. It really is about the process and the challenge because I’ve never done it before. I am a consumer and I know what I like but I’ve never done eyewear. It’s like picking up crayons for the first time. We’re always taught to use the tip, but you might use the back end of the crayon. With eyewear they’ve given me a lot of room so it’s really fun.
Sn: How did SEE react to your designs?
MG: In the first round they loved it loved it loved it. So they asked me to do a second round, and in the second round I really took the opportunity to dream and put down a fantasy on paper. I got a little crazier and I think they were a little scared. Finally they were like, ‘Mondo we can’t really produce these becasue they’re a little too over the top edgy.’ And I said you guys don’t have to be scared to talk to me about this because again, this is about the process. I’m a desgner, I dream things and I want to put them down on paper or down a runway but I understand things need to be funcitonal, they have to be practical, they have to be manufactured, so let’s talk about this. As an artist you always want to grow and move forward, and I think in the second collection I really moved forward. But they’re like quiet strides becasue I went there with a whole complete fantasty–almost a wet dream. But they brought me back to reality and I still sleep in my own bed.
I always want to do something that’s extreme. When I produce a collection I show in on the runway with fucking craziness. It’s up to the consumer (or my marketing team) to show that it’s functional and practical and wearable and all these things we go out to buy clothes for. But when it’s a runway, it’s my show.
Sn: What’s next for you in fashion?
My collection for Neiman Marcus is coming out in spring. I’m also launching my own private label on Black Friday this year. It’s really exciting for my friends (I call my fans my friends) because they really have encouraged me to keep on going and they’ve been asking for it for two years now. It’s really fun. It’s all black and white, so it’s things you can introduce into your wardrobe as it is now. It’s a small collection of 12 or 13 pieces and then some accessories. And since it’s black Friday it felt really appropriate to also make something for the men. I’m not going to tell you what it is, but women are going to find something that they can give to their man for holiday. I’m excited. I’m even more excited about the marketing and promotion behind it because I have this crazy idea… it’s a video that’s interactive and fun. I also just came out with some stuff for Lord & Taylor. I’m also doing an national HIV education campaign called iDesign.
A portion of Mondo for See will go towards amFAR. In the meantime, check out SEE’s new digs in San Francisco at 651 Market Street, and if you’re in one of the many cities with SEE stores (click “find us” on their site), don’t forget to like Stylenik on Facebook for a chance to win a $100 SEE gift certificate!