Dapper Dan paid a visit to Power 105.1’s ‘The Breakfast Club’ on Thursday and talked about his fashion legacy in Harlem, the Gucci boycott, and the lack of black-owned fashion luxury fashion brands.
The 74-year-old designer discussed his fashion influence in hip-hop culture and beyond, and why he partnered with Gucci. Dan explained that Gucci did for him what other fashion brands wouldn’t do.
“Gucci comes and they say everybody’s paying homage to Dapper Dan but nobody’s paying him. We gon’ change that. We gon’ allow you to do what you’ve always done in Harlem and we’re going to do a partnership and you get a percentage of that globally,” he shared. “I could never get that. That’s my foothold.”
Dan’s close relationship with Gucci put him in quite an awkward position when the fashion brand came under fire earlier this year for their blackface sweater and celebs like T.I. and Spike Lee led a boycott on the retailer. But Dan feels that black consumers gained nothing from speaking out against the company.
“Don’t tell me there’s any organization in the world that don’t have a number of people who are racist because we don’t hear them say it, that don’t mean it ain’t happening,” he said. “So forget that part, let’s look at what can we get out of this? This will be the first boycott black people have ever had in America that we get zero results. That is too damn stupid. You walk away because you’re insulted and you end up with zero? You can’t be no hero like that.”
On the subject of black consumers placing more value on white-owned brands, Dan said, “That’s an individual choice, but I’m not going after what we buy. I’m not going to argue with black people in Harlem or [anywhere in] the U.S., about whether you want to buy luxury. No! Our culture is so powerful and selling around the world, I want to get to where they selling it at.”
He continued, “We are the influencers and our ability to influence goes around the world. I’m not just concentrating on just getting this black money here. Why I can’t get that global money if I [have] that global culture?”
Dan was asked if he could have used his influence to transform Sean Jean, Phat Farm and other black-owned fashion companies into internationally dominate brands he noted that he’s always “thinking global” but pointed out that he didn’t have the capital. “If we [black people] had a sustainable economy that can support a luxury brand I wouldn’t have to be here.”