Harlem-born designer Dapper Dan ne Daniel Day has published his own statement in response to an $890 Gucci‘s Balaclava sweater that sparked outrage over a lips graphic viewed as referencing blackface symbols. His words follows a call to boycott the brand from multiple creatives including Souljah Boy, Spike Lee and T.I., who published a called to action (below) asking followers to stop buying the label for the next three months.
In his statement, Day wrote, “I am a Black man before I am a brand. 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, [Marco Bizzarri], has agreed to come 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.”
Day’s words hold meaning not only because of his status as an iconic and enduring black American designer in his own right, but also because he has partnered with Gucci over the past two years on several projects, including a capsule collection and a Harlem-based atelier.
His own association with the label grew out of a moment of controversy when Gucci was widely lambasted for a jacket it included in its resort 2018 collection that was clearly a knock off of one Day had made in 1989 for retired Olympian Jean Dixon.
Europe’s issues with blackface aren’t confined to just high end labels. In Holland, there have been growing protests over a tradition that includes a Christmas-associated character called Zwarte Piet (Black Pete), whose costume includes black face make up, red lipstick, a curly wig, over-sized earrings and colorful Renaissance attire.
Check out Dapper Dan and T.I.’s statement below:
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Dapper Dan shares a message
T.I. suggests a three-month boycott