Harlem designer and tailor Dapper Dan called out Gucci on Sunday night for its recent racial scandal.
“I am a Black man before I am brand,” Dan said of his affiliation with the luxury fashion house. “Another fashion house has gotten it outrageously wrong. There is no excuse nor apology that can erase this kind of insult. “
The iconic fashion designer was referring to Gucci withdrawing an $890 polo neck sweater after outrage that it resembled blackface. The brand released a statement: “Gucci deeply apologizes for the offense caused by the wool balaclava jumper … We consider diversity to be a fundamental value to be fully upheld, respected and at the forefront of every decision we make. We are fully committed to increasing diversity throughout our organization and turning this incident into a powerful learning moment for the Gucci team and beyond.”
Dan, however, thought more than an apology would be needed. He summoned Gucci President and CEO Marco Bizzarri for a meeting in New York City to have a direct conversation about fixing the issue. Several other brands including Moncler and Prada have recently been charged with using b
“The CEO of Gucci has agreed to come from Italy to Harlem this week to meet with me, along with members of the community and other industry leaders,” he said. “There cannot be inclusivity without accountability. I will hold everyone accountable.”
Dan rose to prominence in fashion in the 1980s after creating custom designs with the logos from high-end brands including Louis Vuitton and Gucci. In 1992, his storefront was shut down after legal action was taken by Fendi.
Dan was shunned by the fashion industry for years.
He made headlines in 2017 after Gucci’s creative director, Alessandro Michele, was called out by Olympic track star Diane Dixon for blatantly copying a jacket the designer made for her in 1989.
Gucci then announced a partnership with Dan, who opened up a new atelier on Lenox Avenue in partnership with the brand in 2018.
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Christina Santi is a news and culture writer for EBONY.com. Born and raised in the Bronx, New York, she considers herself a well-read, not so traditional feminist with a heavy interest in music, fashion and pop culture. Christina currently lives in New York City, where she refers to her Cuban & Jamaican descent often while writing about her experiences as a first-generation Afro-Latinx in America. She also devotes time writing personalized reading material for her tutees and turning ideas into words for streetwear brand, PUER By Noel Bronson.