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Gypsy Sport SS16 Backstage
Backstage at Gypsy Sport SS16Photography Evan Schreiber

These street-cast models prove that diversity equals beauty

A stunning cast – including a pregnant woman, a 14-year-old and an artist called No-Bra hit Gypsy Sport’s runway. Designer Rio Uribe tells us why

It’s been a week where it seems Nodels (that’s non-models) are drawing more attention than the professionals. Just look at Eckhaus Latta, where artist Bjarne Melgaard and musician Dev Hynes hit the catwalk, or Marc Jacobs, where The Gossip’s Beth Ditto took a turn on the runway. Inspired by “New York City, as always,” as well as “diversity, individuality and eclecticism”, this week underground label Gypsy Sport put on a fashion week show which proudly rejected homogeneous runway casting. “I really wanted to span all five boroughs of NYC and the different races, genders, cultures,” explained the label’s designer, Rio Uribe, of his radically inclusive vision. From Instagram famous erotic dancer Cardi B to an older woman known as No-Bra and even a pregnant model, Uribe discusses this season’s line up and his vision for Gypsy Sport. 

How would you describe the direction Gypsy Sport is moving in?

Rio Uribe: Gypsy Sport is moving forward. I want it to be the people’s brand. It started as baseball caps, then became a full clothing line, now it is growing again. I want to expand into lifestyle products, headphones, recyclable water bottles, socks, condoms, etc. At the same time, there will always be cultural patchwork, mashed-up references, global beauty, diversity, adversity.

Where did you find the cast of models and how do they represent your vision for the season?

Rio Uribe: This season I worked with casting director Anthony Conti to find the right models.We had about 25% professional models and the rest were street cast nodels. I searched bars, clubs, Grindr, Instagram, and the streets of course. These people are actual movers and shakers of NY’s underground. I like their work and they like mine, so it was pretty easy to get them to walk in the show. Cardi B, Nelleke McCowan, Domonique Echeverria, Fiishbonez, No-Bra.

What do you look for in a Gypsy Sport model? What do they have to represent?

Rio Uribe: In models I always look for confidence and personality. Also diversity. I look for skin-tones, genders, and body types that we've never shown before. We had a 14-year-old model and a 41-year-old model. Age can be a social divide and I think in the future we will cast more ages. When we open the doors for casting there are always so many beautiful people. The thing is, if you don’t look or walk confidently in the clothes then I won’t believe the look. So it’s always sad having to turn down these gorgeous people with no personality.

Why did you invite Cardi B to walk?

Rio Uribe: Cardi B is very New York. She’s a little woman with big personality and even bigger assets. My lil sister (19) really looks up to her for that reason, so I decided to invite her to walk. She’s a self-empowered woman with no apologies and I can't help but love that. Also, I made this dress that required lots of body and she filled it perfectly.

“No-Bra, aka Susanne Oberbeck is a musician/artist/feminist that I really admire. When I asked her to be in the show she agreed, her only requirement was that she would wear no bra. So it was a win win.” – Rio Uribe

Who was the older female model?

Rio Uribe: No-Bra, aka Susanne Oberbeck is a musician/artist/feminist that I really admire. She has a very confident tomboy aesthetic, but her large natural breasts are always on display. When I asked her to be in the show she agreed, her only requirement was that she would wear no bra. So it was a win win.

Why did you choose to open with a pregnant model? 

Rio Uribe: Diandra Forrest is a Harlem native, I’ve seen her strolling the farmers market in my neighbourhood. When she came in for casting is how I found out she was pregnant. It was kind of shocking. We sat and talked for a while about her baby, her body, and her personal style. At one point she mentioned that all she wears at home now is tank-tops and knickers. So I made a glorified wife-beater with tiers of silk, and some Gypsy Sport knickers. It was my stylist, Lester Garcia, who made the model order and he suggested that she open.

What inspired this season’s beauty and hair looks?

Rio Uribe: The beauty was about a subtle freak show. Beautiful but excessive.The make-up was a crusty blue mascara, bloody red lip, and blond brows. I worked with top make-up artist (and Dazed beauty editor) Yadim from Maybelline New York. He nailed it. The hair was amazing. I wanted every hair-do to look like three styles in one. The artist Laurent Philippon is a true professional but also such an artist. All of his designs were like right out of my sketchbook, and he’d never even seen it. I hope to work with him and Bumble and bumble again.