Who would’ve thought that the world’s of Dapper Dan and GAP would ever collide? That’s right everyone, Dapper Dan (born Daniel Day) the Harlem- based designer has partnered with San Francisco-based Gap Inc. to create a hoodie. The ‘DAP’ hoodie dropped March 10th at 4pm and sold out in mere seconds.
Dapper Dan is known for his signature suits and luxury high-end collaborations. The last thing you’d think you’d see him in or see him releasing is a hoodie. However, this isn’t just another random cash grab collaboration; there is a particular essence behind this collaboration.
Dapper Dan, the innovative designer is elated with his new GAP collaboration.
However, Dap wasn’t always welcomed in the fashion world. Being an African American designer in the 80’s and 90’s, Dapper Dan experienced prejudice within the fashion industry. Despite the odds put against him, he was still able to come out on top by redefining fashion with a hip-hop flare. It became what we now lovingly call streetwear.
The goal was to re-contextualize the symbolization of a hoodie.
Due to racial preconceptions in the world, hoodies have a pessimistic implication amongst the black community. A comfortable clothing piece should be just that; so what better way to break that negative connotation than to flip the narrative? That’s exactly what Dapper Dan did with this collaboration. He sought out to represent black culture and the black community. That was his first priority- paying homage to his cause. He wanted to make a statement to say it’s OK to wear a hoodie whenever, wherever and you’ll look good doing it. Deservingly, the DAP hoodie has received substantial praise since the release.
The hoodie was released in only one color- a bright peach color. This may have led some consumers to raise their brow, but there is always a method to the madness. Dan explained that he loves the attraction a piece of clothing can get based on it’s color. The stares he gets in public when something he is wearing is attention grabbing is what he looks forward to.
Gap, the clothing and accessories retailer has done a number of collaborations in recent years. They have collaborated with Kanye West for Yeezy, Demna for Balenciaga, and now Dan for Dapper Dan. The world of fashion is filled with goods that are only accessible to the wealthy. Dapper Dan wanted to make his collaboration with Gap accessible for everyone. This reflects the price point of the hoodie; a fair $99. It’s a little higher than GAP’s usual pricing, but is considerably affordable compared to most collabs we’ve seen recently.
The big question arises: Do I need this?
The answer is Yes. Firstly, the hoodie is made of a soft material that is comfortable for everyday wear. It can easily become a classic, go-to piece in your wardrobe. Most importantly though, the hoodie is more than just that. It represents aspects of black culture. It represents the black creatives who have impacted the industry. Dapper Dan has proven to be more than a man selling clothes out of his car. Now, designers and brands look to him for inspiration.
The Harlem haberdasher sentimentally reflects on his latest collaboration with GAP. In an interview with Vogue he stated, “Here in Harlem, 125th street is the center of our cultural world, but 42nd is the center of the universe,” in reference to an ad for the collaboration in Times Square.
What he wants most out of this collaboration is for Black young men to see the representation throughout the collection. Diversity has been one of fashion’s biggest struggles to accomplish. This is exactly why Dan wants to target diversity. He wants to encourage the Black youth to do so too. This is what sets this collaboration apart from other collaborations. There is purpose and symbolism which is often missed or overlooked in collections.
Dan is more than a fashion designer; He is an extraordinaire and mogul of past generations and many future generations to come.