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Fashion Icon, Tailor And Designer Dapper Dan To Mentor VFILES Designers

The move comes as Dan is increasingly being recognized by haute couture houses.

VFILES, a New York based creative collective, is an incubator of sorts for emerging fashion talent.

At VFILES, young creators hone their skills through collaboration, and learn from a fashion industry mentor.

And each year, during New York Fashion Week, the designers show their work in a group show.

In order to ensure that its talent has the resources they need, VFILES recruits fashion stars such as Virgil Abloh and Naomi Campbell as mentors.

And this year, the collective recently announced that none other than hip-hop fashion pioneer Dapper Dan will be molding VFILES' young minds, according to Business of Fashion.

Dapper Dan became a household name in the 1980s and '90s for creating custom pieces using haute couture materials out of a small storefront in Harlem.  

People came from all over to get their hands on Dan's work, and his client list included Salt and Pepa, LL Cool J, Mitch Green, Run DMC, Mike Tyson and Bobby Brown, to name a few.

Photo: Dapper Dan's Boutique
Photo: Dapper Dan's Boutique

The world's fashion houses regarded Dan with contempt at the time, but in recent years have begun to acknowledge the independent designer as ahead of his time.

In fact, this year, Gucci unveiled a jacket that was incredibly similar to one Dan had once produced, stirring up controversy. Many called it plagarism; Gucci called it "homage."

Now decades out from his eponymous Harlem boutique's heyday, Dan said that he is excited to partner with VFILES in part because of how much fashion has changed.

Photo: Dapper Dan's Boutique
Photo: Dapper Dan's Boutique

“One of the biggest things about street style now is that there is a lot of gender fluidity," he says. “People are taking more risks, especially with color choices and silhouettes, which is really exciting because it allows for more possibilities and it is much different than the way things used to be … I like that, I like that whole scene and what’s taking place right now — the way it’s emerging, the way it’s developing. My mission with fashion is to help take it there!”

It is certainly refreshing to see that one of the best-dressed men in the business will be passing down his knowledge through the program.

Photo: Dapper Dan's Boutique
Photo: Dapper Dan's Boutique

And we'll all get to see just how much mentees learned from the master when their designs hit the runway at New York Fashion Week on September 6.

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