Discovering Harlem through the faces of the Gucci-Dapper Dan collection Lookbook.
Shot by Ari Marcopoulos, Cassandra Sumpter, Amara Desta and Lawrence Sunday-Odeh grew up and live in the neighborhood where Dapper Dan established his atelier in the 80s. They talk about their favorite places in Harlem, the shoot and the tailor.
Did you know about Dapper Dan before you did the shoot? “Yes! Growing up I’ve always heard of Dapper Dan making clothes for a lot of hip-hop artist as well as people in my community (who were considered hood-rich) My parents were also familiar with Dapper Dan and his clothing mentioned it a few times in my childhood. How fly he is and his clothes are always ‘matchy’.”
Tell us about your favorite places in Harlem. “Harlem has changed tremendously these days! But I must say for the better. I love 125th Street. From Lenox-8th Ave it’s always been cool shopping areas to get the latest and flyest sneakers and footwear. These days I love 8th Avenue, all the restaurants and brunch spots.”
Best part about shooting the lookbook in Harlem? “The photo shoot was phenomenal. My best moment was when the photographer [Ari Marcopoulos] told them to play music for me to loosen up ‘cause I was a little shy but all other moments could be considered as a best moment.” Where should a first-time visitor go in Harlem? “My favorite place is the Studio Museum which talks about the history and evolution of Harlem it should be the first place to visit, another one is Rucker Park—it is amazing to be part of a great society and community like Harlem.”
Tell us your favorite places in Harlem. “Some of my favorite places in Harlem are the mostly hidden... I love the waterfall in Morning Side Park. If I would give a tour guide of Harlem, I would first show off central Harlem… I would continue the tour with my mother’s community garden on 112th street right between the projects… I'd show off some of El Barrio, which is Spanish Harlem. I'd take you to my favorite hole in the wall taco spot, that is delicious… After we're full of tacos, I'd take you to sit down underneath the park Ave train on 116th, to watch and hear the live Bachata music. Crossing Lenox Ave and 116th is when you enter Little Senegal, its named this because of its large Sengelese population that has its own restaurants and shops. There you'll find the best shoes in life, and Senegalese men seated outside their businesses in large groups dressed in formal attire.” Why is Dapper Dan a Harlem icon? “Before shooting the Dapper Dan campaign, Dapper Dan was a familiar household name for his legendary innovations. My mom spoke of him often, and how her dad, my grandfather, and Dapper Dan had been friends way-back-when before he was known and appreciated mostly in the Harlem black community. My mom spoke of his legend as approachable and local. In the current discourse of fashion's issues with cultural appropriation, to include young artists who're intrinsically linked to this community and culture is important. I believe almost every longstanding Harlemite has a personal story to share about their own intimate moments shared with Dapper Dan.”