Harlem fashion legend Dapper Dan will mentor young fashion designers this New York Fashion Week. In collaboration with VFILES, both a platform that fosters young artists and boutique brick-and-mortar, Dap will be working with emerging designers to help execute the ninth annual group runway show on September 6.
A perfect choice to mentor the youth, Dapper Dan made his name in fashion by re-interpretting designer clothes for customers that visited his Harlem specialty store. A recent New York Times profile said that in the height of shop's success, it would be open 24-hours a day, seven days a week to accommodate its enthusiastic customers. At the time, luxury brands sued Dap for his breathing new life into their imagery and providing his customers with access to brands that didn't cater to them.
Fast-forward 25 years later, and now Dap is the one getting copied — and by one of fashion's favorite taste makers. The latest Gucci presentation made waves for straight-up copying one of Dap's copies. Yes, it was a copy of a copy, but the striking similarity to the garment made for Diane Dixon and the omission of any modicum of recognition for its inspiration ruffled the feathers of many. After days of public outcry, Gucci claimed it was a "homage" and reportedly reached out to Dap for a collaboration.
Past VFILES NYFW mentors have included the likes of Naomi Campbell, Pat McGrath, Virgil Abloh and Mel Ottenberg (RiRi's stylist!) VFILES designers will be co-lead by another mentor, Jimmy Moffat, founder and managing director of Art + Commerce talent agency.
(Photo: Albert Urso/Getty Images)
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