Gypsy Sport has established itself as New York's biggest advocate for diversity in fashion, offering an authentic voice outside the sweeping industry trend of surface-level inclusivity. Designer Rio Uribe, who was a 2015 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund winner, has always championed a brand identity that extends beyond the clothes, fostering an entire culture around Gypsy Sport that makes LGBTQ POC a top priority.
Before his fall '17 NYFW presentation began, Uribe delivered a powerful message over a Tannoy from backstage: "I want to take my responsibility and shed some light on something I ignore too often," he said. "I learned so much from speaking to people who live outside; I've learned so much about humanity. I think we're actually a very loving people who want to help each other, but sometimes that's not what is preached to us. Let's fight for a new world, a decent world, one where we can make room for each other."
His collection, described as "a celebration of life," was a true celebration of the models wearing his clothes, as each used their time on the catwalk to express themselves fully--one model swayed their hips while texting, as if uninterested in the audience, and another twirled her braids violently before snatching an editor's cellphone to film herself. White cisgender models were the minority in Gypsy Sport's production, making much-needed room for marginalized models who're largely overlooked during NYFW.
In a love letter to Gypsy Sport, OUT asked a few models to reflect on wearing Rio Uribe's brand.
JZ: "From the jump at the fitting I felt mad understood by everyone, which is definitely not the usual for me working in the fashion industry. The look they put me in was so me and it just made me feel beautiful in my own way--made me feel comfortable to be me. Walking and presenting yourself in front of so many people who are literally judging you can be nerve-wracking as hell, but [Gypsy Sport] made it so being cunt was effortless."
PE: "Gypsy Sport has relinquished and removed any insecurities about my ability to model or my ability to be a sociable person. When I'm in their clothes, the garments accentuate powerful attitude that harness positive emotions and represent so much more than a face or a body; the brand for me is like a knight's armor, or a witch's broom for all walks of people. The diversity of models that Gypsy Sport brings to the runway brings me a high level of comfort that I never had when modeling--a unified, synergistic energy that many other brands fail to administer in their models. It's given the chance that many other people and I never had to express our internal strength and struggles cathartically--to be powerful, comfortable, confident and cunt."
MM: "It felt so amazing to walk alongside so many people of color, especially so many women of color and transwomen. There was a beautiful aura in the room the whole time and I feel like Rio's beautiful designs really captured that. The clothes took me out my comfort zone and walking in them felt so empowering."
CM: "Gypsy Sport is like no other company. In the fashion industry, there is a lot of fantasy involved, [but] Gypsy Sport is reality. Not only are the designs outstanding, it is current, involved in a political standpoint and inclusive to all people. Wearing Gypsy Sport and walking in their show is being part of the movement. I am so impressed by Rio [Uribe], and the work [and] little world he has created. Proud to be a Gypsy."
NR: "Wearing Gypsy Sport makes me feel very powerful and comfortable. It's made for people like me, [who are] queer [and] POC. They embrace diversity especially in a time where there's a lot of racial tension. Walking in the show felt like I was a part of a movement that was being socially responsible by paying tribute to the less fortunate and incorporating live subway performers from NYC. It was very exhilarating."
DVD: "Being a part of the Gypsy Sport family is a huge honor for me, and walking their runway is definitely getting checked off of my bucket list. The whole vibe backstage, from the crew to the models to Rio himself is all love. I have a lot of respect for GS artistically and also politically. The current climate in this country is both disheartening and galvanizing--at once a total bummer and a call-to-arms. GS tells us to dig in our heels and push our individuality further. I chose to answer Gypsy Sport's call, and I'm ready to do battle with whomever wants to try us."
PD: "With everything going on in our political system, I believe this season will translate not only how the designer, but many of the other [queer models] of color I shared the runway with feel about the upcoming four years. Beauty isn't in one 'perfect race.' It's in the girl with freckles or the big gap in her teeth--it's in the kid who expresses himself through the ink on his skin [or] through the person who identifies as who they truly are and not as who society tells them to be, whether it be a female or male or nothing at all. It comes from self-acceptance and self-declaration of your own uniqueness. That is this generation--that is Gypsy Sport."
SR: "Walking down the runway and having more than 100 people staring at your outfit could be nerve-racking, but putting on Gypsy Sport and knowing that the crowd will be impressed by the small, but precise stitching and detail on the clothing gives me overwhelming confidence. Gypsy Sport not only has a unique style, but an amazing model selection for the show, which fits my personality and comfort zone."