Dapper Dan and Gucci are no longer at the table. They are in complete partnership. After a summer of Internet outrage and appropriation debates, Gucci’s creative director Alessandro Michele and the Harlem designer have announced a union of two brands that were once at war.
You might recall that, in the ’90s, Dapper Dan’s 125th street shop was forced to close because of lawsuits filed by Louis Vuitton and Gucci. Day had appropriated their logos to create original designs that penetrated through the hip-hop zeitgeist, bringing clients like LL Cool J, Eric B, and Rakim to his doors.
Now, a ceasefire has been declared and Gucci will sponsor the reopening of Dapper Dan’s boutique later this year. Moreover, Day stars in Gucci’s new tailoring ad campaign and, alongside Michele, will design a capsule collection that will sell at Gucci stores worldwide.
What’s distinctive about this partnership—announced in a profile by The New York Times on Sunday—is that after Gucci appropriated Dapper Dan’s designs on its Resort 2018 runway, Alessandro Michele himself traveled to Harlem to meet the couturier in person. It’s certainly an unprecedented move that an Italian luxury house would extend a hand to a disenfranchised individual in the world of fashion and embrace him in such a way.