gypsy sport and the importance of community in fashion
"There's a scene in 'Star Wars' where they go to a bar and every kind of alien from the whole universe is sitting there and having a drink. That's New York."
Left to right: Nar (dj, producer, and model), Cheeky Ma (model), Carly Heywood (design and styling team), David Parnell (design and styling team), Estelle Mata (communications director and dj), Kelow LaTesha (artist and model), Fiiishbonez (artist, dancer, and model), Rio Uribe, Gypsy Sport (creative director and founder), Anthony Conti (fashion and casting director).
It's impossible to talk about Gypsy Sport without using the word community. Founded by Rio Uribe in 2012, the New York-based label prides itself on the nomad's land of friends-cum-collaborators that orbit around its Garment District basement. An eclectic mix of freaks, geeks, cool kids, and even cooler kids, it has, in many ways, become a microcosm of the city that spawned it. "There's a scene in Star Wars where they go to a bar and every kind of alien from the whole universe is sitting there and having a drink. That's New York," says Rio proudly. What's more, he could quite easily be talking about his own fiercely inclusive brand. Pan-racial, pan-gender, pan-everything-going, Gypsy Sport's boundary-breaking mentality thrives on the similarities in our difference.
"I work with my friends on the marketing, on the branding, on the photography, all of those fields where they get a chance to practice what they love and I get to do what I love," states Rio, who was awarded the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund in 2015. "And when friends come from all over the world and you're working together, it kind of just brings a natural sense of community and diversity to your team." As Rio's tribe continues to expand beyond its original Harlem home — an L.A. office is currently in the works — what does he hope the brand's lasting legacy will be? "I would just really love it if, years later, people recognize Gypsy Sport as something that really pushed the boundaries and really tried to bring more people into the fashion industry," he says. "I wanted all my life to be a designer but I didn't know if it was possible. I hope that we can inspire other people to do it too."
Text Matthew Whitehouse
Photography Evan Browning