Gay Houston salon celebrates with high fashion fundraiser

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Fashion, fundraising and all around fabulousness are on tap Tuesday as a gay Houston business owner celebrates his anniversary with the help of a “Project Runway” all star.

As David Armendariz (top photo) considered the best way to celebrate the first anniversary of his boutique Studio A Salon at its new digs in West U, he thought about giving back to an LGBT non-profit. He also figured that it might be a perfect opportunity to highlight the work of a talented friend, “Project Runway: All Stars” winner Mondo Guerra. So Tuesday's anniversary party was born.

The event benefits the Montrose Center through a suggested donation at the door and a silent auction. And for fashionistas, Guerra will show his 2016 spring/summer collection.

“The Montrose Center is the best fit to bring in Mondo and shine on them because they do give a lot the community here in Houston,” Armendariz says. “It will be great fun and giving back to the Montrose Center.”

The event also marks a return to Houston for Guerra, who competed on “Project Runway” in 2010 when he came out as both gay and HIV-positive. In 2012, he won “Project Runway: All Stars.” His HIV advocacy led Pride Houston to name Guerra a grand marshal of its 2014 parade, earning him a ride in the parade atop a convertible (second photo) and his first trip to Houston.

Armendariz and Guerra developed a friendship after meeting when Armendariz was a dancer in Denver. And since, he's hoped the two could one day work together on a project.

“Ever since I became a hairdresser, I wanted to collaborate on a project with him. Right now is a perfect time. He's become an AIDS advocate and I want to give back to the community and I felt it was a perfect time for that,” Armendariz says.

'It's just been a blessing'


Business has been booming for Armendariz and Studio A Salon, which moved into the new digs a little more than a year ago. They outgrew a previous space and after moving into the new location on Sunset Boulevard, Armendariz faced even more growth.

“It's been growing and running out of space. I reopened this location with a suite mate. But we expanded overnight when he moved out. I was blessed and it worked out really well. It's just been a blessing,” he says.

Armendariz, a 35-year-old native Houstonian, says he turned to hair when an injury cut short his dance career. But thanks to a sister who has been a hair stylist for 25 years, he was already quite familiar with hair care.

“I've been around the industry practically my whole life. I didn't want to do a 9 to 5 officer job or go back to graduate school. I love fashion and have been around the hair industry, so I wanted to take the plunge and try it. It was just natural for me,” Armendariz says.

On Tuesday evening, Armendariz and the salon will set aside hair and focus on fashion. Guerra's models will work a makeshift runway in the rear of the salon, avant-garde looks will be highlighted as models mingle with the crowd, and there will be swag bags for guests.

“I am excited to bring Mondo here and have such a talent come and present their work. We're going to have lots of fun and I'm excited to collaborate with the Montrose Center,” Armendariz says.

The Studio A Salon One-Year Anniversary Party is open to the public and set for Dec. 8 at 6 p.m.

[top photo via Laurie Perez]


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