Rio Uribe of Gypsy Sport is a natural-born disruptor. For him, thinking outside the traditional bounds of fashion is a way of life. He took his rabble-rousing impulses to audacious new levels today, staging a guerilla-style show smack-bang in the middle of the Place de la République. Between the swarms of skater kids flipping tricks on the sidewalks, a group of Egyptian protestors waving placards in one corner, and the general crosstown commuter madness of Paris on a Friday night, there was already a chaotic cast of characters on the scene to begin with. And yet Uribe somehow managed to command the attention of everyone in the square, parting the crowds with his fantastic lineup of DIY looks.”
This is not new entirely territory for Uribe. The designer famously launched his brand with a similar renegade spirit in Washington Square Park in New York. That said, recreating the idea in Paris was hardly going to be easy. Uribe spent time hanging out with kids along the Seine to scout for models, slowly gaining the trust of the locals, who were apprehensive about an outsider at first. The gorgeous and diverse group of young people who agreed to take part were all friends by less than two degrees of separation. They walked the show with the self-assured attitude that only comes when you are surrounded by your community.
“Those are my old Levi’s, that’s my Kaepernick jersey, and that’s my grandmother’s crochet!” said Uribe, standing on the sidelines as a model twirled across the square in a spellbinding fishtail dress made from homespun doilies and another sashayed by in a football shirt spliced with French lace. The levels of resourcefulness and imagination didn’t stop there, with one party frock that was made entirely from Paris souvenir key rings and another from chopped-up license plates, a cheeky answer to the current trend for chainmail. Even the asymmetric dress cut from paper—posters Uribe had ripped from the walls of the subway station below just hours earlier—had the kind of irreverent and raw glamour to stop traffic, which it did.
Many young designers come to Paris with lofty fashion dreams, but for Uribe, who began his career on the fringes, there’s a bigger-picture reality. Connecting with forward-thinking, disenfranchised millennials at street level has always been part of his raison d’être, and today he showed just how bold and beautiful that global movement can look like. - Chioma Nnadi for Vogue Runway