Chimona has captured this brand integrity in a single article on Vogue. Enjoy!
NEW YORK, FEBRUARY 12, 2017
by CHIOMA NNADI
In the current political climate, it’s all too easy to pay lip service to activism with broad-sweeping liberal affirmations on a slogan tee. Addressing the issues that are currently plaguing our society in a meaningful way on the runway takes a whole lot more thought, consideration, and courage—a mantle many designers find too heavy to bear. For Rio Uribe, the injustices he sees on a daily basis—the refugee camps in Paris, the tent cities of the homeless that line his route to work in L.A.—are too blinding to ignore. And today, moments before the lights went up on his runway; he made his public announcement. “I want to take my responsibility and shed some light on something I ignore too often,” said Uribe, speaking over a Tannoy from backstage. “I learned so much from speaking to people who live outside; I’ve learned so much about humanity. I think we’re a very loving people who want to help each other, but sometimes that’s not what is preached to us…. Let’s fight for a new world, a decent world, one where we can make room for each other.”
It was a poignant way to set the stage for the collection, which was conceived “as a celebration of life,” said Uribe. He has always had an unconventional approach to casting, and this time recruited most of his models from the many political rallies he has joined in the last few months, including the Women’s March in Los Angeles and protests against the Muslim ban in New York. Young people strode down the runway past Gypsy Sport logoed tents in looks that cobbled together a hodgepodge of references, many of which touched on the resilience of displaced people. A silver apron dress and matching three-quarter-length jacket looked like they could have been made from the emergency foil blankets worn by survivors of the conflict in Aleppo, Syria, for example. There was an anorak fashioned in the shape of a cape that seemed cut with survivalist proportions as well, and many of the deconstructed camo and velvet pieces were patched together with the loose, improvised hand that you find in a nomadic wardrobe—safety pins, hand embroidery, bottle tops, and tennis balls were among the found odd-and-ends that wove their way through the clothes in ingenious ways.
In the wrong hands, those ideas could easily have read insensitive—Ivanka Trump was called out for inadvertently referencing a thermal blanket with her style just last month—but there was nothing exploitative in Uribe’s approach. Though he might be at the center of the fashion conversation right now, it wasn’t too long ago that he was working on the fringes of the system—lest we forget, his first fashion show back in 2015 was staged guerrilla-style, in New York’s Washington Square Park. His brand has always been a place of refuge for the young and disenfranchised, and his collection today served to underline that fact.
The political subtext of the show also happened to be supported by some optimistic and covetable fashion. The track pants and hoodies spliced with rainbow tie-dye fabric are destined to be an instant hit with cool, city-dwelling kids the world over, while the off-kilter pinstriped suiting, a Gypsy Sport take on executive realness, showed how far Uribe’s designs smarts have come. Clothes like these certainly won’t need an introduction to sell themselves on the shop floor—their fashion message is loud and clear.