Harlem’s own Dapper Dan dropped by Power 105.1’s The Breakfast Club for an in-depth chat related to a wide range of subjects stemming from his new book, Dapper Dan: Made in Harlem: A Memoir. Dan touches on all kinds of subjects, ranging from his association with the civil rights movement of the ’60s to his ongoing efforts to develop inclusivity within Gucci.
As demonstrated in a recent video with A$AP Rocky, Dan is proud of his Harlem heritage. That being said, finding success in the significantly harsher world of late 20th century New York was a struggle. When asked how he survived the ’70s and ’80s, Dan says: “I just kept switching lanes. I learned early on … that the streets will just implode on you if you don’t understand.” The 74 year-old designer expounds with some references to specific moments explored in his new book: “You might hear me say: you cannot be in it and not of it. … When you walk away from the streets you gotta break clean. I almost got kidnapped, I got shot.” Dan also speaks on the value of owning property, noting the compounding value of his own brownstone complex.
After delving deep into his time in Africa and initial meetings with Gucci many years later, Dan speaks on the Italian house’s recent controversies. “When people appropriate our culture, they make mistakes,” he affirms. “So my approach to them was like, you’ve gotta have people like us in the room, so things like this don’t happen.” Dan dismisses the oft-discussed Gucci boycott, saying, “[If] we do a boycott, this would be the first boycott [that] black people of America would have where we get 0 results. How you gonna boycott something ‘cuz you’re insulted, and you end up with 0?”
Despite the rawness of the backlash, Dan believes that Gucci has made progress. “We have a changemakers program now,” exclaims Dan. “Look at the program, see if it’s something you agree with, and if you do, we’re going to run with it and take it to the rest of the brands.”
Watch Dapper Dan’s full interview with The Breakfast Club above.
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