Pepsi x Dapper Dan sponsor New York Fashion Week. Review by Eleonora de Gray, Editor-in-Chief of RUNWAY MAGAZINE.
Pepsi x Dapper Dan Footballwatching Capsule Collection
Pepsi and Dapper Dan partnership that is taking football watching apparel to the next level. Does it really?!
Just in time for two of the events of the year – NFL Kickoff and New York Fashion Week – Pepsi has partnered with Harlem-based designer Dapper Dan, known for his rip off of big brands logos, to create The Pepsi x Dapper Dan Football Watching Capsule Collection. Taking the NFL fan apparel game to the next level. Loungers, hoodies and bucket hats turn football fans into Dapper Dans.
And as Pepsi today is an official sponsor of New York Fashion Week. American Fashion Federation CFDA announced this “sponsored content” everywhere during New York Fashion Week promoting Pepsi and Dapper Dan.
This is an irony and perversity of what is going on today in fashion industry in New York and the way Fashion Federation CFDA sees fashion and its creative ways.
Who is Dapper Dan?
Daniel Day, known as Dapper Dan, the original tailor to hip-hop royalty. Dapper Dan’s Boutique, which opened on 125th Street in Harlem, New York, in 1982, built its reputation by doing with fashion what hip-hop was doing with music at that time – RIP OFF.
Dapper Dan was known for his rip off logo design and textile printing, which he fabricated himself to resemble high-end European fashion houses, like Louis Vuitton, Fendi, MCM, and Gucci. In the 1980s, his first wave of customers were hustlers and local drug dealers.
The luxury labels, which had never wanted to supply Dapper Dan with their goods, began to take legal action. They effectively litigated Dapper Dan’s out of existence (paywall), forcing it to close in 1992.
Dapper Dan and Gucci 2017
25 years after luxury brands sued his Harlem boutique out of existence, Gucci looks to him for inspiration. In 2017 Gucci decided to relaunch Dapper Dan as a by-appointment studio for custom pieces. Dapper Dan himself was also starring in Gucci’s new men’s-tailoring ad campaign, shot around Dapper Dan’s home of Harlem.
Gucci was widely criticized for showing a look in its cruise collection that was exact replica of a Dapper Dan design worn by Brooklyn Olympian Diane Dixon in 1989. The main difference was that Dapper Dan’s original used Louis Vuitton’s interlocking logo for its puffed sleeves, while Gucci substituted its own.
Alessandro Michele, creative director of Gucci, called it “creative rebirth”. It is his exploration of “faux-real culture” and “creative appropriation”, and Gucci new way of the “creating”. In addition he also demanded the Museum of Modern Art to include Dapper Dan work in its fall show “Items”.
New York Times in 2017 published an email of MoMA’s senior curator of architecture and design, Paola Antonelli. She called Dapper Dan a “trailblazer” who “showed even the guardians of the original brands the power of creative appropriation, the new life that an authentically ‘illicit’ use could inject into a stale logo, as well as the commercial potential of a stodgy monogram’s walk on the hip-hop side.”
Vogue in 2018 published an article “Go inside Dapper Dan’s Gucci atelier with Naomi Campbell”, prizing Dapper Dan’s “TRUE GENOUS”, as Vogue put it, and his Multi-Million Dollar Atelier in Harlem. It is known that Vogue will paint you as much as you like, and in all colors, will make you a great designer, depends on how much money you’ll pay for it.
“Dapper Dan has made a Gucci car and a Louis Vuitton tracksuit, all while trying to sidestep the FBI, which was determined to shut down what it saw as a counterfeiting operation. Anyone with any sense could tell you that what Day does is not make knockoffs—he calls them “knock-ups.” The patterns or references might be from luxury fashion, but the application and the creativity are all his own,” – wrote Vogue.
Dapper Dan and Pepsi 2021
And now there’s another step into “creative appropriation” Pepsi decided to take, a new level to the rip off – engage Dapper Dan to produce a capsule collection with Pepsi logos. After all what Pepsi is interested in is the designs. And indeed the designs itself of Dapper Dan are the creative designs, which became known and from 90s, and so famous today that all big luxury brands are happily use them to produce the new line of their clothing. The designs of Dapper Dan entered the museums of art with Gucci reinforcement…
How ironic in “Moebius loop” kind of way! One side is turned upside down, some sort of Euclidean space with “nonnegative integer dimension” in fashion history we can see today. It is a horrifying perversity, yesterday’s designer who was chased by FBI for counterfeiting goods and reproduction of Luxury brands logos, today placed by American Fashion Federation CFDA as a designer and “true genius” to sponsor New York Fashion Week in September 2021.
Hypocrisy is a small word for that, and specially after when CEO & President of CFDA Steven Kolb together with Chairman Tom Ford in February 2021 wrote an open letter to President Joe Biden with demand to organize a special commission and appoint a senator to deal with counterfeit, copyright and trademark infringements.
And there’s no end to this story “down the rabbit hole”, as there’s no end in falling. And I don’t know if you can actually call it success…