In fashion, the line between inspiration and appropriation is often a blurred one. In the case of Gucci and Dapper Dan, however, it's reached a rare amicable resolution. And it seems to be a win for all involved. The Harlem fashion icon, best known for remixing high-fashion pieces into new ones throughout the '80s and early '90s, will be reopening his beloved boutique's doors by the end of the year with help from Gucci, The New York Times reports. Gucci, who is "powering" the operation by supplying Dapper Dan with "raw materials," will also be teaming up with him on a capsule collection that will reportedly hit Gucci stores next spring. To top it all off, Dapper Dan aka Daniel Day is now the new star of the brand's tailoring campaign.
For those who are just catching up, Gucci and Dapper Dan were first bundled together in news stories when creative head Alessandro Michele showed his cruise 2018 collection, which included a puffy-sleeve mink coat that was nearly identical to a famed one designed by Day for Olympian Diane Dixon in 1989. The most notable difference is that the print featured Gucci's logo instead of Louis Vuitton's, as The New York Times points out. Day wasn't immediately credited though until after Michele was called out for appropriation, at which point he released a statement on Gucci's Instagram account acknowledging Day's influence. Fast forward to now, a handful of months later after the pair have met, and Day is now opening up about the snafu.
"You have to understand, I was prepared to be copied from the time my store was first opened," he told The New York Times, alluding to how the big fashion houses came after him during his heyday. "My store first opened, and I couldn’t even get designer garments in there, nobody would sell to me. I’m talking 1982. This is 2017. That’s already behind me. The fact that it has to be two different worlds, I had already accepted that. I was just content with satisfying the people in my community."
Day also addressed the accusations that Gucci had culturally appropriated saying, "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. That opened a dialogue between us when we finally got in touch with each other. I found out how similar our experiences were, the way he grew up and the way I grew up, and how he was influenced by me. I was never apprehensive about what took place. The public was more up in arms than me... 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."
Meanwhile, Michele has given a formal statement, saying, "We are recognizing the power of this work. The message for me is that we have, in a way, recognized a huge piece of the history of the brand. It is the time to say that fashion is not just the windows of a Fifth Avenue store. It’s more. It’s about culture. It’s about self-expression. It’s about expression of a point of view."
As for the original Gucci jacket that started it all? Well, Beyoncé is already a big fan.
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