Interview by Charlie Price
Edited by Tiaja Pierre
You are known for your very exuberant, colorful oeuvre. Can you trace back to a realization that this was the language you wanted to speak as a fashion designer? Was there a moment of clarity or commitment that you recall?
Exploring fashion as a creative outlet and form of self-expression I always got a kick out of pushing the envelope. I learned that the more I took risks, the more I got noticed – and I loved the attention. Since I have had the opportunity to show collections for a larger audience I have experimented a lot. I am the happiest when I show a collection that is wacky and kind of does not make sense.
Now that you have been living in New York a second time – for a number of years – how has this latest stint in the city influenced your designs?
Since being back in New York I find myself really pulling from my roots in Club and Streetwear fashion. I like to design for me as a 20 year old. I always ask – would Mondini wear this?
I see from your Instagram that you often create custom pieces for prominent drag performers. What do you love most about working with them? Clearly you enjoy it.
Yes, I have been working with a lot of the top tier Ru Girls for the past couple of years. Let me tell you…it is a LOT OF WORK in a very short amount of time. I guess for me I love to see the look walk down the runway as a fan. I usually have to wait a year from a finishing a costume to seeing it on screen, so by then I have already started on several new seasons.
Many years ago during your initial period living in New York City you worked at the iconic Patricia Field boutique. Did being in that singular, extraordinary environment inform your aesthetic in fashion?
Actually I sold to Patricia Field as a designer for a small Streetwear company. It was difficult because Patricia’s store was on the very forefront of what was next in fashion. Working for a company as a designer was complex as there were certain limitations to what we would produce. However, by night I was sharing my own Ideas, wearing my designs out on the club scene where Patricia’s buyers were inspired to work with me. I really miss those days.
I occasionally see some nods to your Latin heritage in your collections. Does that part of your identity reveal itself in your work?
Yes, very much so. I think my love for color and prints are definitely engrained in my soul as a Mexican-American designer.
What does being from The American West mean to you?