By Isaac Breese
Picture from Highsnobeity
Lately I have been seeing this dapper older African American man in Gucci ads inside of GQ magazine but didn’t know who he was. Come to find out it was Dapper Dan, a fashion trailblazer back in the 1980s who created garments sized for blacks by using prints from luxury brands.
But that was over 25 years Dapper Dan emerges into the spotlight once again and this time officially with Gucci. But how? And why?
Over the summer the internet broke when Gucci imitated a piece that Daniel Day, known as, Dapper Dan had created in ‘89. The creative director of Gucci, Alessandro Michele, made a remake of a design that Dapper Dan constructed for Diane Dixon during the ‘89 Olympics.
Dixon later found a image of the remake and posted it next to the original on social media saying, “‘Bish’ stole my look! Give credit to @dapperdanharlem He did it FIRST in 1989!”
Pictures of Dapper Dan X Gucci Atelier From Harper’s Bazaar
After Vogue stated that the image of the remake was an example of “how the fashion industry fails black people” and Vice blamed Gucci of “ruining culture”, Michele came out and said, “It wasn’t appropriation, it was a homage, to me.”
In the 1980s Mr. Day shook up the fashion industry. With his boutique in Harlem he changed the way luxury brands made clothes by adding flavor to the already existing fabrications of Fendi, Louis Vuitton and Gucci. He incorporated the patterns of these luxury brands into various coats, jackets, hats and pants in sizes tailored to African Americans. He attracted customers from Philadelphia all the way to Los Angeles which included the likes of Big Daddy Kane, Eric B., Rakim, KRS-One and LL Cool J.
Picture from Instagram
But in 1992 he was sued out of business by the luxury companies whose patterns he used. Now Gucci, since the internet raged over Dixon’s ‘89 Olympics outfit remake, are teaming up with Mr. Day to build an Atelier and eventually a capsule collection that will be apart of Gucci’s Fall 2018 collection. The Atelier will be by appointment and give customers the opportunity to purchase bespoke clothing designed by Mr. Day using Gucci fabrics, prints, materials and hardware.
Picture of Dapper Dan X Gucci Atelier from Harper’s Bazaar
So far it’s unclear as to why the partnership happened but Mr. Day to the New York Times, “I would not submit to any collaboration that wasn’t on this level…I think that would be doing a disservice to the culture that I am a part of to accept anything less than what Alessandro has offered me. I think it’s something that the younger people in my community could be very proud of.” Well Mr. Day aka Dapper Dan, we are proud and we want to congratulate you. We wish much success and can’t wait to see what you and Gucci have planned for us in Fall 2018.