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Red Ball Denver struts for World AIDS Day on Sunday

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Fashion shows with intricate hairstyles, theatrical mak-up and haute couture are always a feast for the eyes. When the spectacle is for a good cause, it makes the entertainment a charitable effort. This is the case with Denver's Red Ball, now in in its sixth year. We spoke with Jeff Trujillo, Colorado AIDS Project manager of marketing and events in advance of the show -- which takes place Sunday, November 30, at Exdo Event Center -- to find out what makes this fashion show so unique and what surprises are in store for guests.

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Westword: How did the Red Ball come to be as it is today?

Jeff Trujillo: We're very fortunate that our event has become so well-known throughout Denver. We started Red Ball in 2009 as a test while we were looking for an event to replace the Art for AIDS event that we put on hiatus. What began as a trial blew up and grew to become what Red Ball is today -- the largest one-night hair and fashion event in town. I think the format that we use for the event, pairing one designer with one salon and having them work as a team, really helped to set this event apart from others. Also, we encourage as many outrageous and over-the-top ideas as possible, so what we see on Red Ball's runway is always memorable and always a surprise.

What is the goal of the Red Ball?

We created this event as a way to draw attention to World AIDS Day, which is observed on December 1 each year. Our goal as an agency is always to keep the public aware of HIV/AIDS in our community, make sure they know that it is not a disease of the past but is still here with us, and to raise awareness for HIV prevention as well as funds to support the programs provided by Colorado AIDS Project.

What designers are contributing?

Baskit, EKiZ, Denver ODDD, Infernal Contraptions Apparel, Fashion House of Rae Marie, C.R. Lee Designs, James ETC, Gino Velardi, Marie-Margot Couture, Scandalous Couture, LTD, Kimono Dragons, Regal Rowe, Tyne Hall, Erin Jensik, Salwa Owens, Studio Yoshida, LLC and D'Lola Couture will all be showing designs. The partnering salons include: Belle & Beau, Strandz, Twig Hair Salon, Henry's Salon, Zandi K Salons, Teds Hair Studio, Serenity Salon & Spa, Planet Laboratories, Lincoln & Dakota, Casandra's Makeup Studio, LLC DBA Makeup by Casandra, Rebelle By Tootsies Salon, Scarlet Salon, Fleur Salon, Sparrow Stylin' Salon, and Studio: A Collective of Stylists.

Can advocating for HIV and fashion go hand in hand?

Denver has an incredibly large pool of talented local fashion designers, each with their own following of fans. By bringing so many local designers together, we are able to reach a much larger audience than we could on our own to deliver messages about HIV prevention. The largest group of new HIV infections is young people under age 30, so creating a cutting-edge and ultra-modern fashion event featuring designers whose products target that demographic really helps to get us in front of that demographic who are most at risk of infection. Red Ball is a chance for people with creative professions in the fashion industry to come together and say through their each respective art, this is our fight too.

What can guests expect from this event on Sunday?

As we've seen in the past, the designers and salons that participate in Red Ball consistently pull out all the stops to give the audience something completely unexpected. It's hard to say what we're going to see from them -- even those of us who are putting the event together don't know for sure. Outside of the main event, the fashion and hair show, Sunday's event will include a VIP cocktail reception featuring Belvedere vodka, pre-show entertainers including aerial artists and dancers performing an LED light show, appetizers from Lifestyles Catering, and a huge silent auction with over seventy packages up for bid. Items include original fashions from many of our designers, hair and beauty products from participating salons, hotel stays, celebrity-autographed merchandise, and restaurant packages to name a few.

Red Ball Denver starts at 7 p.m. on Sunday November 30 at Exdo Events Center and you can purchase tickets online here, starting at $30.

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