It’s no secret that finding a way into the fashion industry as a person of color can seem like a never-ending battle.
Saturday at Essence Fashion House, TV personality Bevy Smith, founder of Harlem Fashion Row Brandice Daniel and designer Dapper Dan sat down to discuss why it’s hard for Black designers to become household names.
“The biggest problem for Black people is when we are entering [the] fashion [industry] we don’t have that legacy money,” said Smith.
For Dapper Dan, whose birth name is Daniel Day, he took matters into his owns hands and created an empire of vintage finds and one of ones. He managed to transition from the “streets designer” to working with Gucci to opening up a storefront location in Harlem.
Now, Dap has managed a relationship with Gucci that goes far beyond tokenism, but allows him to create cultural fashion moments and serve as an advisor for the luxury fashion house.
“It’s about the personality of the individual,” he explained. “If you can’t generate enough excitement to push your brand from a grassroots level then you’re going to have to lean on someone else.”