Photography by AKLO NYC
The Gypsy Sport movement—led by Designer Rio Uribe—is rapidly picking up steam, becoming the ballsy vehicle for a major sociocultural shift occurring in New York fashion today. During the rising label’s SS ‘16 presentation this week, any pretention typically associated with a runway was abandoned at the door, making way for a walls-down experience where amateur models manically vogued and flashed their asses, as the beaming audience squealed and wildly snapped in response. This wasn’t a time to purse your lips and side-eye an it-girl down the row; this was an unorthodox, nu-wave celebration of city streets, underground culture and real fucking people—thank God.
Uribe’s presentation was signature Gypsy Sport, visually catered to a NYC from the distant future—some post-apocalyptic age when cultural divides finally dissolve and the landscape becomes overtaken by wild animals and Jumanji-style foliage. You can almost imagine his models being members of city-born tribes, wearing Gypsy Sport to somehow aid with survival, while still dressing with a self-aware eye. There’s always a hip-hop undertone running through Uribe’s collections, bringing together a ’90s South Bronx attitude with something quietly pulled from pages of “The Jungle Book” that you weren’t supposed to see.
This season, Uribe focused on the East, introducing Chinese silk on loose sweatpants and billowy skirts. This style, paired with his reworked version of Milton Glaser’s “I HEART NY” logo, read almost as subtle commentary on tourism in the city; those confused visitors we angrily dodge everyday, proudly donning their NYC-themed gear, have begun to feel less like invasive species and more like a vital thread in the community quilt. He’s reflecting on the melting pot he sees on the streets, skewing reality and introducing a progressive perspective of multiculturalism, diversity and adversity.
Casting played a major role in the strength of this collection, as always. “The models were a very, very, very key part of this entire show,” Uribe said in an interview with Milk. “Again, I wanted to show New York City and how different it can be and how different everything is. So we had weeks and weeks of casting. And most of it was street casting, we only had about 25% contracted models, the rest is all friends and people from the street.”
Uribe’s rejection of passé standards in fashion, most specifically with recruiting archetypal models, is something that’s become a happy trend in New York fashion lately. (It’s certainly not new this season, but it’s beginning to feel like a more concrete norm). The same faces we saw walking at Gypsy Sport this week, we’ve also witnessed sweating at cramped gallery openings and dancing at 3 a.m. functions. These are the dynamic personalities that inspire Uribe—the rebels that proudly adhere to no other definition of beauty, but their own.