28 Faces You'll See at Gypsy Sport's GSPOT Festival

28 Faces You'll See at Gypsy Sport's GSPOT Festival

For over five years, Rio Uribe's New York-based fashion brand Gypsy Sport has been gleefully transforming the way audiences view clothes and the bodies who wear them. Their (very fun) shows are beloved for inviting an inclusive mixture of queer people of color, artists, and all body types to the party.

Attendees of their shows, which more closely resemble gregarious, all-are-welcome ballroom events than your average runway presentation, similarly range in manner and taste, from self-serious to playful. Gypsy Sport places a profound emphasis on the latter.

Creative Director Uribe aims to create a fun atmosphere in all he does. "[While] I also take fashion very seriously, I take it with a grain of salt," he says. "We're not saving lives and I say that to the team all the time. We're not in the ER room, we're not surgeons, we are creators and artists who are trying to have fun and let our fun spill out to the audience."

With that in mind, and a desire to create an anti-corporate environment that includes rather than exploits the experiences and bodies of marginalized communities, Uribe and his cohort created GSPOT. The all-day event takes place at 321 Starr Street in Bushwick, Brooklyn, from 2-10 PM that will reportedly channel the decor of 1970s Palm Springs. The event's main focus is its GSPOT Panel, which "will feature some of the most exciting and leading trans, queer and POC activists," according to a statement. Together they will openly address "intersectional issues, love, sex, and hot topics." Scheduled panelists are: Munroe Bergdorf, Laith Ashley, Emilia Ortiz, Mykki Blanco, and Aaron Philip.

Additionally there will be screenings of three short queer films spotlighting relevant subjects within the community: one is about becoming non-binary, one focuses on Aaron Philip, and the other centers the personal stories of queer elders who were around during the Stonewall Riots. Guests can also mingle with past and present Gypsy Sport models, and see DJs and performances throughout the day including from "West Dakota from Brooklyn; Imp Kid from Chicago; The Miss Toto from Miami; Serena Tea from Bronx; Buffy from Queens; Pan Dulce from Pennsylvania and plenty more."

PAPER caught up with Uribe before the GSPOT launch to talk about the importance of having fun in fashion, and how he works to create safe, inclusive space within every part of Gypsy Sport. Meet 28 of the faces you'll see at GSPOT, below. Tickets here.

Aaron Philip

What gave you the idea to create a festival around the brand?

I always wanted to do this festival. A couple of years ago, we had our very first spot and it was fun, but I wasn't ready. I didn't understand what the festival was really for. I thought it was just going to be a Pride party. But after a couple of years, I realized that I wanted to create a Pride party that I would want to go to and that I know my friends would enjoy. The brand is 5 1/2 years old now, so I have a lot of models that I can talk to and invite. The main source of inspiration came from my friends and models who are amazing artists, performers, drag queens, and singers. They've been on my runways many times, but they've never been able to showcase their real talents. So I was like, "How do we celebrate our community, LGBTQ people, and keep it authentic?" My first approach was to talk to all of the 500 models and see who wanted to perform. On top of that, we invited whoever didn't want to perform. We just invited them to come and party with us. I think it's really about... so many people have been giving Gypsy Sport credit for being very diverse and inclusive from the very beginning. That's pretty much what the GSPOT is for: to be diverse, inclusive, and body positive.

There are so many discussions now about how Pride has been commodified. This seems to rebel against that. What are some challenges you've faced in making this happen?

Definitely, that was for sure intentional, and I think I still have challenges every day. Specifically, with the festival, the biggest challenge for me was the expense of creating the safe space and the lack of resources because I really didn't want to have any corporate sponsors or the rainbow capitalism you just mentioned. To avoid, that we avoided all of the money that comes with it. Everything is funded just by Gypsy Sport and myself. All of our ticket sales are just going to pay our performers and panel speakers. It's honestly a community-organized event. Hopefully, this can grow into something we can do around the world at other Pride celebrations. So with expenses in mind, it was tough to create this event and produce it. With the fashion show, the payoff is our runway, but with a festival... we've never done it before. We're just investing all of our time and energy and money and hoping that this is something that the community really loves.

"Everything is funded just by Gypsy Sport and myself. All of our ticket sales are just going to pay our performers and panel speakers. It's honestly a community-organized event."

Who or what are you most excited about having at the festival this year?

I'm excited that everyone who can be there will be, but I'm really excited to have Munroe speaking on the panel because I think that she obviously is a very notable activist for trans rights, trans equality, and Black lives — all of the things that she speaks to. I'm also super excited to have Aaron Philip on the panel. She's also an amazing pioneer. I know she doesn't love to be given so much credit and weight with her name, but the fact that she is experiencing life in a wheelchair... she has cerebral palsy, but she's also a signed model, and living all of these parallels with her own life experience. I think that's really important. I've never worked with Imp Queen [she's a performer from Chicago] but I'm excited to see her perform. There are about 20 people on the lineup and I think everyone is pretty cool. My boyfriend is going to do a drag number, so that's also exciting.

When you created this brand, you innately curated an audience of likeminded people who are open, expressive, and curious. It defies the logic of fashion being so serious. Do you see GSPOT as an extension of that?

That was one of the things I always hated about fashion... I also take fashion very seriously, but I take it with a grain of salt. We're not saving lives and I say that to the team all the time. We're not in the ER room, we're not surgeons, we are creators and artists who are trying to have fun and let our fun spill out to the audience. That's really always the goal. Until a Gypsy Sport show becomes the norm, then our job is not done. I want to keep pushing the boundaries with inclusivity and diversity and spotlighting different types of identities. There are so many that I don't even know about. I still make mistakes on a lot of things from pronouns to identities to gender expression. But for me, GSPOT is a place for all of us to speak and learn, and to claim who we are: This is what my gender is about. This is what my sexuality is about. Then we take that out into our communities. Even in queer spaces, I want to help break some of the divide existing within those. There's still some racism, there's still some misogyny, some transphobia and homophobia lingering in the LGBTQ community, and we really need to address that together. That's my goal now.

Photos courtesy of Gypsy Sport