Legendary stylist and designer, Dapper Dan criticizes Kanye's approach to fashion but offers him some advice.
When Vice sat down with Dapper Dan to talk about fashion among other things, Kanye's name cropped up and the acclaimed designer and stylist had some harsh, but not unkind words, about Kanye's typically blunt strategy to promoting his own fashion ventures. On the subject, Dapper Dan says:
"Kanye is making a mistake. He is begging and waiting for somebody. To people like me, who struggled, heâs an embarrassment. Heâs got all this money, and heâs knocking on the door. I was dead broke. I told my friends back then, if they werenât going to let me in the door, Iâll just do what they do better than they do it. And do it for us."
He continued, saying "He admitted that heâs an artist, but he doesnât know how to sell his stuff to the public," Dapper Dan added. "Thatâs his problem. I donât think heâs in touch. Does he know what excites the people on the street? Or is it just that he wants people to wear something because heâs wearing it? He should study why Black designers before him didnât make it. If he had done that, he would have known what to expect."Â
Yes, Kanye has been quite displeased with his acceptance in the fashion world, saying "âI shouldnât be limited to only one place of creativity." Dapper Dan did though offer some advice to Yeezy, going on the record saying:
"Letâs take this little bit of money here and put it over here in a fashion business. They wonât even know itâs us. Letâs nurture it a certain way so we can see how the game goes. If he comes out with a line with his name on it and fails, then heâs branded a failure. When I was making clothes, people would come to me and Iâd say, 'No, no. Theyâre going to control me. Theyâre going to do it the way they want to do.' Iâd rather not come out until I can control the elements in the game as opposed to experimenting with my own name. You donât get a second chance. Not on his level."
It seems Dapper Dan is not so critical of Yeezy's fashion attempts themselves (although he may be) but rather his general approach to the industry. Kanye's not likely to take any advice other than his own, but perhaps he should listen to the man whose done this time and time before, especially if he wants his rather esoteric and experimental approach to reach a more mainstream audience. Dapper Dan did however have some very nice things to say about Russell Simmons:
"Russell Simmons is a master because he hooked up with that Jewish guy and that was it. That gave him the balance that I didnât have... I will never allow myself to limit myself to people like myself, again. Thereâs no growth in that. If youâre White and you donât have any Black friends, youâre missing out. And vice versa. Youâre limiting yourself. You need to be gay, straight, White, Black, Spanish, English, everything. The more people you come into contact with, the more growth youâre capable of. And I needed to know that when I was younger. I didnât have anybody to tell me that. All I had were the people who were saying, 'Donât let that White man do that. Watch out.'"Â