Dan was the go-to designer during hip-hop’s glory days. He fashioned luxurious materials covered in designer monograms and stood out for his communication that blacks understood and understand fashion in their own way. His designs were bold and extended continuity to Harlem’s reputation as a cultural hub. His creations were reflective of the cultural epicenter where his shop was based. The couturier gave blacks access to fashion where they were the last customers on the designers’ mind.
Day used embellishment and embroidery from brands like Louis Vuitton and Gucci and sold designs that they weren’t adventurous enough to pioneer.
Unfortunately, Day’s shop was only open between 1982 and 1992. His business was booming and fashion labels weren’t feeling it. They noticed that he was profiting in part from their logos (NOT their designs) and he was forced to close up shop. Big mistake, apparently.
Last year, Gucci’s Alessandro Michele remade his own knockoff and he neglected to credit Day until a social media uproar demanded it. He recreated Dan’s 1989 balloon-sleeve LV monogrammed jacket and exchanged the LV logo for the classic interlocked double-G motif. He finally admitted, to public surprise, that the design and collection were meant to pay homage to Dapper Dan.
Dan and Gucci settled their beef toward the end of last year and now they’ve clinched the opening of a collaborative atelier. The store will be the first designer retailer to settle in Harlem and it’s fitting. If ever there were a fashion capital of New York City, it would most certainly be Harlem. The area’s extravagance and ornate style are recognized by all of NYC’s boroughs.
The entities have opened a boutique in Harlem and Dan announced it first on Twitter on Wednesday (Jan. 10).
“A sign of the times. For the 1st time in history, a major luxury brand sure has opened in #Harlem,” he tweeted with an accompanying image of a billboard. The event marks a moment in history and follows a collaboration initially mentioned in September.