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Westword Whiteout: Meet designer Mona Lucero

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On January 30, the second annual Westword Whiteout will kick off Denver's 2014 fashion season at the

McNichols Building

. The evening -- which raises funds for the American Transplant Association -- will include live music, specialty vendors, classic cocktails and some of the city's top designers in a signature runway event. Over the next eight weeks, we'll be profiling some some of the creative people who are contributing to Whiteout. First up: Mona Lucero, one of Denver's most respected designers who's spent years not only creating beautiful clothes, but working to bring Denver's fashion community together with the creation of the Fashion Association of Denver.

See also: Photos of Whiteout Fashion Show 2013

Westword: Tell us about yourself. Where are you from, and how did you get into fashion?

Mona Lucero: I was born in San Francisco but raised in Grand Junction, so I've been influenced by the eclecticism, sophistication and funkiness of San Francisco inner-city and the jeans, sweater and coat culture of a Western town. I started as an artist but always loved fashion as there's a strain of love for it in my family -- particularly my grandmother, who collected handbags and dressy black dresses which she wore on our outings to downtown Grand Junction. Also my brother, as a teenager, would come from San Francisco to visit Grand Junction with the latest clothing and music, and although I was just a little girl, ten years younger, I wanted that coolness!

What was the first thing you ever designed/made?

The first thing I remember "designing" was making a red plaid artist's type smock with Peter Pan collar and big patch pockets. I would still want one of those now.

Mona, what inspires you?

Lots of things: art, music, various cultures, of course. But what inspires me most is really wonderful, kind people who try to make a difference in the world. They make everything worth it.

What is your take on the fashion scene in Denver? What is good, what's bad, what needs work?

The fashion scene here is burgeoning and that's great -- fashion professionals need to support each other more and the general community needs to buy. Then everything will get better; quality of product and a real fashion industry will emerge. Why are you looking forward to participating in Westword Whiteout?

Last year's Whiteout was very well-produced and I was in the company of some of Denver's best designers. Westword is also a great supporter of the arts and fashion scene, which I very much appreciate. But in the end, the most important thing to remember is the cause. That's more important than anything, and if all our models came out wearing plastic trash bags, it would be okay. I'd just make sure to style it really cool, of course!

What can we expect to see from you on the runway?

I like to make those decisions a few weeks before a show, and I like to surprise the audience. Each runway show I do has a different appeal and I like to create a theme. The only hint I can give is that I will be thinking about the word "Whiteout." Whiteout tickets are on sale now. Tickets range from $45 for general admission to $75 for VIP spots that put you right on the runway. Find more information on westwordwhiteout.com.

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