The Dapper Dan And Gucci Controversy Comes To A Well-Respected End

Over the past few days, Gucci has been in the spotlight for being accused of replicating a design by legendary fashion designer and tastemaker Daniel Day,  better known as  Dapper Dan.

Dapper Dan was a well-known tailor throughout the ’80s and early ’90s in  Harlem, New York who created garments that were bold, creative, and way ahead of its time. By constructing high-end designer monogrammed fabrics that were fade resistant, he created garments that were very popular within the hip-hop culture and black community and was the originator behind some of the most interesting and dope pieces you will ever see to date. Dan was a true hustler, his boutique on 125th street in Harlem was open 24/7. And not only did he design clothes, he also renovated cars, furniture, and anything else his clients wanted.

In 1992, Dan eventually had to close down his boutique after receiving numerous lawsuits from the design houses he was infringing upon.

Gucci’s Resort 2018 Collection

It wasn’t until Gucci released their Resort 2018 Collection that raised a lot of concern– did Gucci copy a Dapper Dan original?

Here is the owner,  Olympic Gold and Silver Medalist, Diane Dixon sporting the Louis Vuitton leather puffy-sleeved jacket back in the day.

Power Of The Internet

Everyone wanted answers. Countless people accused Gucci of cultural appropriation, and how this was just another case of taking away from black culture and making it their own. But it wasn’t until various online magazines, blogs,  and influencers picked up on the story and shared their opinion, that Gucci announced that this jacket was indeed an homage to Dapper Dan’s work.

The caption states, “Inside the #GucciCruise18 collection by #AlessandroMichele, a look that celebrates an iconic style of hip-hop fashion culture from the 80s—a plush jacket featuring puffy sleeves monogrammed in GG motif. Legendary tailor Dapper Dan @dapperdanharlem influenced the trend by making such custom pieces for his rapper and athlete clients out of logos from famous fashion houses, including #Gucci. In an homage to Dapper Dan, this jacket worn with jeans and a lurex headpiece is flanked with a striped knit with cross-stitch embroidery, cotton shorts and a georgette gown with trompe l’oeil details.”

My Thoughts On The Fabrics Being Used In His Designs
In a Fashion Bomb Daily article written by Claire Sulmers in 2013, she writes “Sure, his claim to fame was basically counterfeiting labels, but he’s a true artisan, aware of fabrics, cut, and fit.”

While Dan did not have the rights to use these designer logos, the actual designs were none other than his own. He created garments that the black community was drawn to, with a cutting-edge twist.

Many people are saying that it’s basically a tit for tat situation. Since Dan used their work back in the day, why can’t they use his? The reason why Dan even started this new concept was because no one wanted to sell to him because he was black. This was a time when marketing to blacks was not even part of these design houses demographics and psycho-graphics. But Dan knew that blacks wanted to flaunt their status just as much as the next person. So  Dan went on designing for street hustlers, rappers, athletes, singers, and anyone else that could afford him, creating a luxury need to be in one of his exclusive designs.

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As Dan states in a 2014 issue of Dazed, ““I didn’t do knock-offs,” he teases. “I did knock-ups!” As he sees it, he was filling a gap, because big luxury brands weren’t working this form of fly-guy logomania on their own clothes.”

Watch his interview with Jay Z’s Life + Times.

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