Wednesday, 31 May 2017
Gucci’s Cruise 2018 Show Rips Off Harlem’s Dapper Dan: But Did They Just Make Up For Years of Stolen Intellectual Property?
Gucci’s Cruise 2018 show bowed yesterday in Florence. And aside from the oversized Gucci fanny packs and typical logo’d gear, a somewhat astonishing puff sleeved jacket caused a stir because of its similarity to a jacket fashioned by Harlem’s own Dapper Dan in the 80’s.
Haberdasher Dapper Dan was the Rapper’s Delight in the beginning stages of hip-hop. “Dapper Dan was a legend in his time, an 80’s era street couturier who spoke to the sartorial tastes of rappers, drug dealers, and athletes who had a distinctive palette for luxury with a dash of cool. Dan was known as the man who could transform a trendy winter jacket into a logo laden piece, emblazoning it with the monograms of Italian and French fashion houses by screen printing their symbols onto leather using a fade resistant ink. ”
Because rappers like LL Cool J and Big Daddy Kane couldn’t get Gucci to open their doors to them, they went to Dapper who made look a likes with a Hip Hop Twist. As I wrote in 2013, “Back then, like now, luxury houses didn’t truly acknowledge the hip-hop culture, though rappers and their fans were absolutely smitten with the expensive and aspirational quality of the items. For rappers, it wasn’t about understated chic–they wanted the world to know who they were wearing, and just about how much they spent on it. Dan fulfilled that need for a time–before luxury houses began to, slowly but surely, manufacture items with the logo obsessed in mind.” His specialties were Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Fendi.
Dan was not sanctioned by these houses and came under fire. Fendi, among others, ended up suing Dan for copyright infringement several times, until Dan had to shutter his doors.
In the ultimate plot twist, Gucci has decided to steal something from Dan–the exact silhouette of his fabled puff sleeve jacket, originally equipped with Louis Vuitton fabric.
But while some might cry foul, all seems fair in fashion war. Dan copied luxury logos, and now one of those brands has decided to copy him.
It doesn’t seem fair–French and Italian luxury houses always held the power in this equation. But perhaps because Gucci is obviously using Dapper’s design, they can consider joining in an official partnership where Dan can enjoy some of the fruits of his labor.
What do you think?