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Creativity Culture Fashion

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.

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Side Projects

Side projects rule the world. They can essentially be defined as anything you enjoy doing in your free time with or without the intention of making money.

This blog started as a side project. It’s my canvass for exploring new ideas and thoughts. Gmail and Nasty Gal also started as passion projects. Both are viable businesses today.

The great thing about side projects is that there’s no pressure to make them work, at least in the beginning. You take a side project on for fun and because you think it’ll add some value to other people, even if it’s just a friend.

But I think everyone needs a side project. Today’s reality requires everyone to be an entrepreneur on the side. The economy is forever unpredictable and machines are taking away human jobs. Start a blog, write a book, sell some art on Etsy, make a rap album, or go to the extreme and build a rocket ship or modern car like Elon Musk.

Creativity can’t be automated. It takes the complexity and effort of the human brain to come up with new ideas that are essentially subjective mashups of interests, experiences, and access.

It turns that if you really love doing something and enriching other people’s lives a career may meet you half-way. But there’s no rush to monetize a side-project, just start because you love it first and then capitalize on the opportunities to grow it even further.