To coincide with Sotheby’s inaugural hip-hop auction, Highsnobiety teamed up with the auction house for a panel examining “The Rise of Hip-Hop.” The conversation touched on appreciation, appropriation, the relationship between hip-hop and luxury, and the most pivotal moments in their tumultuous history.
One of the panelists was uniquely qualified to speak on the rise of hip-hop. At 76, New York couturier Dapper Dan has decades of experience straddling the worlds of luxury and hip-hop.
Below, we’ve selected some of his most interesting observations on how the two spheres have clashed and collaborated over the years.
On the pivotal moments in fashion
My mantra is always “follow the culture” and in fashion “be a translator of the culture,” give them the look that tells the story about who they are and what they’re saying.
When you look at the jackets that I did for Erik B and Rakim, you see the Five Percenter sign on one, but it’s a Gucci jacket. It’s royal, it’s gold and black, and that all Rakim, he’s Five Percenter. And when you look at Erik B. he represents Gucci. That would be one major pivotal point in fashion.
The next would be, when Jam Master Jay came to my store. He had a big, thick, gold adidas symbol on his chain that adidas gave to him. When he came out with that record, “My adidas,” that triggered a whole new era in hip-hop fashion because now the brands took notice.