Okay, we feel a little sheepish about this one. Acting like we’re shining a “spotlight” on a designer who’s been a legend for decades would be incredibly presumptuous of us, so let’s just call this one a celebration of the man’s incredible career. Dapper Dan has been a mainstay designer for black celebrities going back forty years, when his brand of Harlem Dandyism was first adopted by early rap artists and sports figures. By the time LL Cool J and Mike Tyson got on board with his styles, they took off like a rocket.
Tracee Ellis Ross wore one jaw-dropping look from his famous collaboration with Gucci when she hosted the 2018 American Music Awards:
And we squealed with delight over this fabulous take on a track suit worn by H.E.R. at the 2019 Black Girls Rock:
As well as this adorable take on formal streetwear worn by Black-ish star Miles Brown at the 2019 BET Awards:
His collaboration with Gucci forced the world of high fashion to recognize the importance of Black urban street styles in the history of American fashion and underlined their viability as a hugely lucrative market that the big department stores and high-end boutiques had largely ignored.
It’s probably not for us to decide or contextualize what his greatest achievements have been, but when you look over his long career, it’s hard to deny how incredibly influential he’s been and how much he defined Black male celebrity style for the last four decades. When people picture well-dressed Black sports figures or stylish rap or hip hop stars, they’re picturing the work and influence of Dapper Dan.
[Photo Credit: INSTARImages, Will Heath/NBC, gucci.com]]