During a recent interview on New York City radio show “The Breakfast Club,” legendary fashion designer Dapper Dan, known for igniting the logomania craze, bringing high fashion to hip-hop, and his recent partnership with Gucci, expressed his thoughts on why fashion consumers value high-end fashion brands more than they value black-owned brands.
Dapper Dan rose to prominence in the 1980s, creating a line of clothing that used logos from brands like Gucci and Louis Vuitton. As Teen Vogue previously reported, the creative faced numerous lawsuits from brands for his inclusion of their logos, and he was forced to close shop on his New York City-based operation. Years later, Gucci’s 2018 cruise show featured designs that social media believed were inspired by Dapper Dan’s work. After continued criticism, the brand admitted they were inspired by the designer, but as The Cut reported, Gucci made no attempt to ask him to work with them. But not long after, the fashion house and Dapper Dan began working together on a line, and a collaborative collection between the two debuted in 2018](https://fashionista.com/2018/07/gucci-dapper-dan-collection-clothing-accessories).
On the radio show, Dapper Dan was asked why he believed that black-owned businesses didn’t receive the same level of support from black consumers as brands like Gucci or Louis Vuitton. The designer attributed the lack of support to an individual choice by shoppers. “People want what they can’t get,” he said. “The mentality associated with luxury and aspiration has to do with things that people can’t afford.”
He said that it comes down to designers creating something that will earn the respect of consumers. “It takes time to get the integrity and the respect for a brand,” he said. The designer added, “I’m not going after what we buy. I’m not going to argue with black people in Harlem, or [anywhere in] the U.S., about whether you want to buy luxury. Our culture is so powerful and selling around the world, I want to get to where they selling it at.”
He believes that designers have a wide reach, and went on to point to his own influence, saying, “We are the influencers, and our ability to influence goes around the world. I’m not concentrating on just getting this black money here. Why I can’t get that global money if I [have] that global culture?”
His comments have spurred some discussion on social media, and many have weighed in with their own thoughts on the topic. “He’s talking about accessibility,” one person tweeted. “High end brands are expensive & inaccessible to most people. You’re buying a desire, not just the product. It’s not always a logical purchasing decision. While these aren’t wholly black-owned businesses, Jordan and Yeezys are emulating this.”