What’s Gucci? Dapper Dan Reopening His Shop With Backing From Italian Luxury Brand
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Two years ago the MASS APPEAL documentary Fresh Dressed pointed out the tremendous impact of Harlem fashion visionary Dapper Dan, and the fact that mainstream brands owe him a debt of gratitude. Earlier this year, the House of Gucci came under fire for clearly jacking designs created by hip hop’s finest tailor. Many rightfully criticized the Italian luxury brand for culturally appropriating the work of the pioneering black designer. Yesterday it was revealed that Dapper Dan will make his official return to the streets with a new store. And this time, Gucci will be officially backing his work.
As reported in the New York Times, Dapper Dan has partnered with Gucci to reopen his iconic 125th Street shop later this year and release a capsule collection with the brand next Spring. His store will be a by-appointment-only studio for custom commissions. Dan also said he hoped to bring back some of his original staff to his new store.
The news comes 25 years after Dan was sued by the high fashion world for his bootlegs, which forced him to shut down his iconic boutique. From 1982–1992, Dapper Dan worked out of his shop on 125th St. reinventing designer clothing into his own unique gear that was rocked by everyone from LL Cool J to Eric B. and Rakim.
When asked about the infamous remake of one of his jackets this year, Dan told the NYT that he saw it as an homage to his work: “The part about appropriation, Alessandro and I are part of two parallel universes. The magic that took place as a result of what he did was bringing these two parallel universes together.”
On his upcoming collaboration with Gucci, Dan said “I would not submit to any collaboration that wasn’t on this level,” and that “I think it’s something that the younger people in my community could be very proud of.”
Although a paycheck should have been made to the fashion pioneer a minute ago, it’s damn good to hear that Dapper Dan is finally getting his propers. Since 1992, Dan has worked underground, making special orders for private customers like Floyd Mayweather Jr. As soon as other fashion brands stop fronting, maybe Harlem’s finest will finally be paid in full.