Dapper Dan Addresses Controversial Gucci Sweater, Holds The Brand Accountable

Dapper Dan accepts the Legend Award onstage during Global Citizen Week: The Spirit Of A Movement at Riverside Church on September 22, 2018 in New York City.
Michael Loccisano / Getty Images

Fashion designer and tailor Daniel “Dapper Dan” Day addressed the controversy surrounding Gucci’s decision to create and advertise an $890 sweater that many claimed to resemble blackface.

Dan’s relationship with the luxury brand has seen highs and lows over the last few years. According to Fashionista.com, the company knocked off one of Dan’s designs in 2017 for its Cruise collection. The design caused a frenzy on social media, with many commenters stating that Gucci could’ve consulted with Dan rather than simply ripping him off — with no intention of crediting him for his work.

Soon after the spectacle, Gucci’s creative director, Alessandro Michele, apologized to Dan. The two began to work together on a collection for Gucci. Since then, Michele and Dan have worked together on several projects, including a vintage hip-hop inspired capsule collection and lookbook, a brand-new design studio in Harlem underwritten by Gucci, and the Kering-owned label — one which made Dan the face of its special tailoring campaign.

However, once Dan saw the sweater Gucci intended to sell to its customers, he took to his Instagram account to address the misstep the brand made. In his post, he insinuated that his partnerships with the brand may not last for much longer.

“I am a Black man before I am a brand,” he wrote. “Another fashion house has gotten it outrageously wrong. There is no excuse nor apology that can erase this kind of insult. The CEO of Gucci has agreed to come from Italy to Harlem this week to meet with me, along with members of the community and other industry leaders. There cannot be inclusivity without accountability. I will hold everyone accountable.”

Dan is the latest public figure to speak out against Gucci. While the brand has deleted the sweater from its website — as well as issued a public apology regarding the matter — celebrities like Spike Lee, Soulja Boy and Fear of God’s Jerry Lorenzo remain upset. The Inquisitr previously reported that Lee will no longer purchase from Gucci or Prada until they bring in a black person who can help with designs, and veto ones that are inappropriate.

The 2017 dispute between Dan and Gucci resulted in the brand being more open to learning about the designer’s culture — one that inspired the 2018 Cruise collection. Now that he has decided to speak out against the brand, the partnerships he’s developing could go away, along with any existing ones. Dan has historically been kicked out of European design houses in the past for his opinions, becoming known as an outlaw in the fashion industry in the ’80s and ’90s.