New Gucci jacket gives Dapper Dan his due

“How would he feel if that Louis Vuitton pouch became a whole outfit?” remarked the Harlem fashion designer Dapper Dan, aka Daniel Day. And so he made custom clothing for famed sprinter Diane Dixon and rappers Eric B and Rakim, going on to remix all types of designs from the world’s most renowned brands before they shut down his operations.

New Gucci jacket gives Dapper Dan his due
Photo by Drew Carolan

Dapper Dan’s efforts mimicked the sampling culture which helped give rise to hip-hop at the time. Said Elle Magazine director Samira Nasr, “Sampling was taking existing music and slicing it to recreate new sounds for original lyrics. Dap was sampling in a way. He was taking existing fabrications and breathing new life and beauty into them.”

The urge to remix also came out of Dap’s own experiences growing up poor in Harlem. “My sense of style came from having holes in my shoes. I was in third grade, and I would put cardboard and paper in the bottom of my shoes.”

Remix culture is the foundation of the Internet, the biggest copy-paste machine. But Dapper Dan predates the likes of Nasty Gal and other fashion outlaws looking to recast something new. Thanks to Gucci’s branded version of the jacket and nod to Dapper Dan, the couturier is finally getting the attention he deserves.