Gender-bending brand Gypsy Sport has come a long way since launching in 2012. Its founder and designer, Rio Uribe, 31, went from designing in a Garment District basement to winning the 2015 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund.
Now, his bold point of view and unlikely combinations are cementing him as a major brand to watch. Here, Uribe sounds off on his work.
What’s the story behind your spring ’17 collection?
RU: I was inspired a lot by the World Cup and the Olympics. There was so much propaganda for sports everywhere, so I couldn’t help but be inspired. I was also looking at the 1920s and flappers and the rebellious nature of women at that time. So we mashed up flappers with the Olympics.
Where did your sportswear influence come from?
RU: I always wanted sportswear to be a part of the brand. I don’t go to a lot of red carpets or cocktail parties. Most of my life, I’m at the gym or hanging out with my friends. When we have runway shows, the sports stuff has to be magnified. I use literal bodies from football, soccer and baseball, and jazz them up with feathers, lace and chiffon.
Your runway models push the idea of diversity. Why is that important?
RU: It comes down to being more inclusive. Winning the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund made me feel like I got my foot in the door of fashion, and I wanted to open that door for my friends and family. We’ve always been a homegrown brand. My first customers were my friends, so I wanted to make sure my models could be friends, too.
What prompted the decision to make your line mostly genderless?
RU: Initially, I was just creating clothing and hoping a guy or girl would be interested in it. When we were doing T-shirts for Opening Ceremony one year, they were on the men’s floor, but only girls were buying them. So I stopped designing for genders. Also, I have so many friends who are transgender or non-binary, so they don’t like to be called a boy or girl. I respect it, and it inspires me to design for them.
Any hints about new shoe styles?
RU: We have some slip-on slides that we make in Korea. I wear them all day. You can remove the tops and change the prints every season. But I’d like to get into more sports sneakers. I want to get Nike on board — something like collaborating on an Air Force 1. The dream would be an ongoing sneaker collab like Raf Simons and Adidas.