Gucci was taken to task for the very Dapper Dan-esque jacket that it sent down the runway as part of its 2018Cruise collection in May. In response to widespread fury - including claims of copying and cultural appropriation made by social media users and members of the fashion press, alike - a representative for the Italian design house said this spring that the brand tried to contact Dapper Dan “without success, and that [creative director Alessandro] Michele was interested in a collaboration with him that would celebrate the influence he had on fashion and hip-hop culture in the 1980s."
As of Sunday, however, it appears as though the two entities have managed to work something out. According to the New York Times, “The two will collaborate on a capsule collection that will be produced and sold in Gucci stores worldwide next spring. [Dapper Dan] himself is the model in Gucci’s new tailoring ad campaign, shot on the streets of Harlem.”
Speaking of the Gucci jacket that caused so much controversy, the New York Times writes' Matthew Schneier writes: “Mr. Day said he considered the Gucci jacket a homage. He never sought acceptance from the establishment fashion world, though he is also not without pique at those who have borrowed from his signature look, most often without credit, over the years.”
Gucci’s Michele, on the other hand, says: “For me, we can talk about appropriation a lot. I didn’t put a caption on it because it was so clear. I wanted people to recognize Dapper on the catwalk. It wasn’t appropriation, it was a homage, to me ... I understand that I am putting my hands in a kind of very delicate playground, the black community. But I love the black community. I think they have a big voice in terms of fashion.”
The brand's creative director - who has come under fire quite a bit as a result of claims of copying - further stated: “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.”
In addition to the parties’ impending collab, Dapper Dan will, according to the Times, “open a second-generation Dapper Dan’s as a by-appointment studio for custom commissions, staffed, he hopes, with some of the original tailors, and sponsored (‘powered,’ in the company’s preferred term) by Gucci, which will now supply the raw materials.”