4 Latinx designers you should know
From the anarchic and revolutionary looks of Gypsy Sport and the refreshing reversal of gender norms of Bárbara Sánchez-Kane to Barragán’s adoption of body-conscious silhouettes and LRS’s take on American streetwear and sportswear, this quartet of brands led by young Latinx designers create a new vision of what fashion can be, as seen through their own very individual lenses. As part of our partnership with the CFDA, SHE spoke to the four – Rio Uribe, Bárbara Sánchez-Kane, Victor Barragán and Raul Solís – about their design influences, the connection between fashion and politics and how their heritage is expressed in their work.
Gypsy Sport is intended to be worn by everyone, regardless of your race, gender or sexual orientation. In fact, inclusiveness is so ingrained in the brand’s DNA that it’s part of the origin story of founder Rio Uribe. Since childhood, the 33-year-old designer has been tailoring clothes for his six younger siblings – four siblings, to be precise – tailoring firsthand clothes with creative flair and transforming them into dapper chic no binary. looks that deserve Harry Styles’ approval. “I remember cutting lace out of my mom’s lingerie and stitching it on the collar of a T-shirt,” he recalls, laughing. In 2005, Uribe left his home in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles and moved to New York City, where he took on odd jobs like delivering dumplings and organizing Paul Frank’s inventory before landing a job in the Balenciaga reserve. Once he rose through the ranks to Director of Merchandising, Uribe’s role began to include travel, and many more. Then, in 2012, like so many millennials over the years, he launched a Tumblr and called it “Gypsy Sport” after the breed of horse he considers “elegant and androgynous”. Later that year, the Uribe brand was born and he was named one of the CFDA Fashion Fund laureates in 2015.
“Why should we categorize people based on their clothing tastes? Uribe asks before pointing out that he hopes gender-neutral merchandise is not just a trend, but a lasting movement. Prominent fans like Lourdes Leon and Jaden Smith subscribe to Gypsy Sport’s sartorial philosophy of ‘breaking all the rules’. For Uribe, that means no limitation in fashion choices, especially when it comes to his heritage. Her spring 2021 show featured Hispanic models of all genders, sizes and skin tones to highlight the diversity within a specific culture. “I wish people understood that Hispanics and Latinos in America are part of a larger diaspora and many of us are still trying to reconnect with our roots and understand who we are,” he says. “We are just as American, if not more native to this nation, than any people here. It is important to remind ourselves and others that we belong. Going forward, Uribe hopes to lead by example and inspire the next generation of Latinx designers to take risks and forge their own path. “We’re a big part of the industry, but more so behind the scenes,” he says. “I’m really excited to see what the future holds.” –Claire Stern, Deputy Editor-in-Chief
Barbara sánchez kane
“Mexico has long been dominated by a very macho culture,” says Bárbara Sánchez-Kane, who grew up on the Yucátan Peninsula but has made Mexico City his home for the past two years. The same attitude led the designer to pursue engineering studies before enrolling at the Polimoda fashion school in Florence. “Careers in art or design are generally not accepted, so I was very afraid to pursue something artistic.” Nonetheless, it was his homeland, from its colors to symbols such as the calla lily, that provided the creative fuel Sánchez-Kane needed for his graduate thesis and subsequent collections.
When the designer made her New York Fashion Week debut in 2016 with a collection called “Citizen,” which referred to President Trump’s anti-immigration policies, many critics were surprised to learn that the young talent was Mexican. Thus, Sánchez-Kane made a point of not only promoting mexicanity abroad, but to examine its culture both in its glory and its flaws and to challenge gender norms while emphasizing community (all Sánchez-Kane clothing is made in Mexico, until to tissues).Naomi Rougeau, senior fashion editor
Models walking in Victor Barragán’s spring 2021 runway show wore mismatched contact lenses, one with an overlay of the Mexican flag and the other showing the American flag. It’s the perfect way to sum up the designer’s own focus on his two cultures. Barragán divides his time between his hometown of Mexico City and his adopted city of New York, and his brand, Barragán, often dabbles in the iconography of both places – for that same spring 2021 show, he referred to the pyramids of Teotihuacan and the street clown. costumes in Mexico. La Zona Rosa in Mexico City, known for its vibrant LGBT community, also inspired much of its bodycon and cutout aesthetic. “I was really inspired by this idea of ’Oh, I feel amazing. I want to wear this, I don’t care what people think,” he says. That feeling of body positivity also extends to his. cast of various sizes, still too rare an event on the track.
Growing up in Mexico City, he says, “I didn’t feel like I could get in touch with a lot of the designers I saw because everything was too far away from where I’m from. After studying architecture and industrial design, he moved to New York City, where he found a community of fellow Latinx designers, artists, and other creatives. “We felt excluded for so long,” he says. “Now it’s really empowering to work with each other and show off similar faces and shades and colors, as you see in your family and at home. He became a CFDA Fashion Fund finalist in 2019, and as his platform grew, he used his brand’s Instagram, which has over 100,000 subscribers, to post on important issues for his community, such as the movement to abolish ICE. He is judicious about the use he makes of his platform: “I don’t want the brand to become this performative political message all the time. “-Véronique Hyland, Director of Fashion Feature Films
Raul Solís is not meant to be dishonest. The Mexican-American designer, originally from Los Angeles and currently working and residing in New York City, worked under Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCullough at Proenza Schouler for about five years before setting up his own label, LRS. Solís’ work is post-minimal, post-modern, and deconstructionist in nature, but overall he describes his clothes as “American streetwear and sportswear.” He’s in touch with his Mexican culture, as seen in the early seasons of LRS via hand-crocheted knits and tall neon cowboy boots, both produced in collaboration with local Mexican artisans. While Solís is incredibly proud of his heritage and enjoys using his platform to speak out against injustice, he designs above all from a place of utter honesty. “I’m still very, very proud of my culture,” he says. “But I don’t want to force my culture either … just to do it. I prefer to talk about things that seem really honest to me at this precise moment. A recent example that speaks to the authenticity of Solís’ voice is a red and white striped spring 2021 dress that features phrases like “Stronger Together” and “No Justice No Peace.” Designed at the height of the pandemic and the racial justice movement in the summer of 2020, the dress works as a beautiful piece of design while presenting an important message that he deemed necessary to spread at such a pivotal moment in American history.
Regarding Latin American inspiration, Solís mentions a designer who creates with the heart without feeding too much on Latinx stereotypes of design and dress, something Solís is proud of in his own work. “I have always viewed Narciso Rodriguez for Calvin Klein as a huge benchmark for being Latin,” he says. “[He] really came forward in his own voice, aside from the design stereotypes that people think of versus what Latin designers actually design. Solís recognizes the impact of Latin American designers in America who came before him and did “a great job showing the codes of the Latin style”, but he hopes that in the future, Latin American design will not be. no longer attached to archetypes. “I feel like we’ve gone beyond those codes,” he says. “We don’t need to touch them to show our admiration for [our] culture. We can go ahead and have different ways of communicating what it’s like to be proud to be Latin. “-Kevin LeBlanc, Fashion Associate
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