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, he’s an embarrassment. He’s got all this money, and he’s knocking on the door. I was dead broke. I told my friends back then, if they weren’t going to let me in the door, I’ll just do what they do better than they do it. And do it for us."
He continued, saying "He admitted that he’s an artist, but he doesn’t know how to sell his stuff to the public," Dapper Dan added. "That’s his problem. I don’t think he’s in touch. Does he know what excites the people on the street? Or is it just that he wants people to wear something because he’s wearing it? He should study why Black designers before him didn’t make it. If he had done that, he would have known what to expect."
Yes, Kanye has been quite displeased with his acceptance in the fashion world, saying "“I shouldn’t be limited to only one place of creativity." Dapper Dan did though offer some advice to Yeezy, going on the record saying:
"Let’s take this little bit of money here and put it over here in a fashion business. They won’t even know it’s us. Let’s 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 he’s branded a failure. When I was making clothes, people would come to me and I’d say, 'No, no. They’re going to control me. They’re going to do it the way they want to do.' I’d rather not come out until I can control the elements in the game as opposed to experimenting with my own name. You don’t 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 didn’t have... I will never allow myself to limit myself to people like myself, again. There’s no growth in that. If you’re White and you don’t have any Black friends, you’re missing out. And vice versa. You’re limiting yourself. You need to be gay, straight, White, Black, Spanish, English, everything. The more people you come into contact with, the more growth you’re capable of. And I needed to know that when I was younger. I didn’t have anybody to tell me that. All I had were the people who were saying, 'Don’t let that White man do that. Watch out.'"