riding the subway in mexico city with gypsy sport
Designer Rio Uribe gets back to his roots and celebrates the creativity of young Mexico.
While melting pot is one of those terms that gets thrown around a lot, it's pretty on point for describing the Gypsy Sport ethos — from the creative ideas that go into the clothes, to the team and its extended family who represent the label. The label's founder, Rio Uribe, draws inspiration from the similarities and differences of youth culture globally, and with his strong connections to Mexico — he's been visiting since he was a kid, and though raised in LA, it's where his family are from originally — it's fitting that he's taken his latest collection to the capital to shoot it on the coolest kids around, as they ride around the city.
Where do you live, and why is it home for you?
I live in LA now, I grew up there and moved to NY after high school in 2005. NY is really fun but the hustle is real. I never finished college, so I just worked a lot of jobs in retail and studied fashion from magazines and online. I started Gypsy Sport in 2012 by remixing my own clothes and hats. I still had to work multiple jobs just to pay the rent, and that's also why I showed in public spaces because I could never afford a real venue. Finally, after 11 years, I work for myself, so I'm in to LA. I only go to New York now to show my collections for fashion week.
How long have you been visiting Mexico for?
Since I was five-years-old. Sometimes we would drive all the way down for two days straight, and I always met new uncles and cousins. Sometimes they would drive up to the border and meet us in Tijuana or Ensenada just for the day. My parents wanted to make sure that I appreciated where they came from, and I do. As soon as I was old enough to drive I would go to Mexico City every summer. Now my family lives in Parral, Chihuahua, which is super nice, but I still love to visit Mexico City most of all.
What do you love most about the city?
Mexico City always feels balanced. There is so much history in the land and in the people, but also so much new art and technology. The city has modern buildings and schools, but there are ancient pyramids right next door. There are people living in Mexico City today who still carry the indigenous blood of their land, something that you never really see in the United States. And all the different foods, thats my favourite thing for sure.
How would you describe the youth of Mexico?
The youth in Mexico are creative af. When I was a kid all my friends in Mexico were interested in "Whats cool in the States?" and I thought they just wanted to copy American style. But now, probably because of the internet, I see Mexico's youth exploring many more cultures around the world and using that information to express their own creativity. Mexican kids are making their own art, photoshoots, YouTube shows...
How does this group you've shot fit into the Gypsy Sport family?
The Gypsy Sport gang is a network of artistic people who live in different cities around the world. In October 2016 I was blessed to show my new collection in Mexico City at the i-DKitchen for Mexico fashion week. That was a dream come true! And whenever I bring my brand to a new city I like to find some cool city kids and put a photoshoot together to commemorate the visit. Like a memento of Gypsy Sport's first time in Mexico. I think city kids have a natural self-confidence.
How did you choose the subjects for this shoot?
These kids are some of my friends and some friends of friends. A few of them were in my spring/summer 17 fashion show at i-DKitchen. I invited them to do a shoot with me and they were all down. We got dressed at my Airbnb and rode the metro all night taking pictures and having fun. I like to cast real people, and real groups of friends because it's all about the chemistry. The photographer is very important too because I've met lots of photographers who are not down to ride the metro with me and shoot guerrilla style. It gets too much attention, and sometimes police kick you out of the train. But Maria Fernanda was totally down and she got so many really dope shots.
Why did you decide to shoot on the subway?
It's where everyone meets, its purgatory. Its underground. Its just cool. My very first campaign ever was photographed on the metro in NYC, so we've carried that tradition to Mexico city.
What's your favourite sound in Mexico City?
The sound of thousands of people yelling and marching on Reforma. Maybe it's in my blood, I love revolution and I believe in power to the people! So even when I don't agree with the cause, I still support freedom of speech and freedom of protest. There were so many protests in Mexico when I was there, against Uber and the worker's unions. Then I got back to NY and there were even more protests against Trump.
Tell me something that you saw in Mexico that really amazed you...
I don't want to be cliché, but the pyramids of Teotihuacan are incredible! I've seen other ancient sites, but this one is so familiar. I probably lived there in a past life.
What do you think is the most important issue facing Latin American youth right now?
I think Latin American youth are still struggling with LGBTQ awareness. Most cities have a safe-space for LGBTQ youth, but gays and trans people are constantly bullied and tortured in all of Latin America. The way I see it, we are all humans with different paths in life and no one can judge another. We should try to understand each other because we are stronger together. Don't let a parent or preacher or even a president tell you who is good and who is bad. Ask questions! Get to know yourself and get to know others. Then decide for yourself who you and your friends truly are.
What are the plans for Gypsy Sport this year?
This year I am planning to grow the Gypsy Sport community by going on tour around America. Me and the team wi'll be visiting Gay Prides in different cities from Vancouver, Canada to Orlando in Florida. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter for more info on the dates and locations.
Finish this sentence: Mexico City is full of…
Photography María Fernanda Molins
Models Diego, Havi, Natalia, María, Gerardo @ Guerxs.