Earlier this week Gucci premiered their 2018 Cruise collection which was designed by Alessandro Michele. Among the looks was one eerily similar to a custom Louis Vuitton jacket that the legendary Dapper Dan created for Diane Dixon in the 1980s. After Dixon called them out on Instagram, Gucci responded saying that they were trying to pay homage and celebrate iconic hip-hop fashion.
However, I have several problems with this. First of all, Gucci (along with other brands) fought Dapper Dan throughout the 80’s and 90’s. They didn’t want him customizing or selling their clothes because his clients were rappers and athletes.
Of course, now that names such as Gucci and Louis have become major parts of the hip-hop world, the brands have come to appreciate Black business. Sadly, this appreciation still doesn’t come with respect. Stealing from and only acknowledging an icon such as Dapper Dan after being pressured to do so is a blatant slap in the face.
This cycle of pushing Black people and Black culture to the outside and then suddenly realizing that you like what we’re doing on the outside has gotten extremely old. From food, to music, to fashion, Black people have been forced to be resourceful and make their own until the mainstream decides that they want a piece too.
You can see this pattern simply by looking through the accessories at a place like Urban Outfitters. “Ghetto” items such as hoop earrings and du-rags are suddenly in style. And just as Gucci didn’t feel the need to share their source of inspiration, neither does any other company that’s renaming and profiting off of Black creativity.
So I hate to break it to you, Gucci, but a clearly insincere Instagram post isn’t enough. An Instagram post doesn’t make up for the disrespect and it certainly doesn’t share the wealth you’re undeservedly pocketing. If you want to quiet the complaints, be creative on your own, or at least learn to be less obvious with your appropriation.
Be the zeitgeist.