Review of Dap Gap Holiday 2023 Ad Campaign by Designer Dapper Dan and Creative Director Calvin George Leung with Photographer Joshua Kissi with Talent Dapper Dan, Melba Wilson & Sa Cisse, Felipe Luciano, Khary Lazarre-White, Jason Warwin, Giannina Oteto, Starr Williams, Grey Iona, Alberth Johnson & Adonis, Gabriela Lopez Castillo, Chaz Anthony, Malaye Diakhate
Dap Gap – the collaboration between Gap and iconic designer Dapper Dan – shares a love letter to the designer’s home of Harlem and the inspiring community of artists and leaders who call it home. The Holiday 2023 campaign was lensed by photographer Joshua Kissi.
This latest Dap Gap drop follows up on the success of their earlier collaboration, digging deeper to celebrate the community that Dapper Dan’s pioneering design work shaped and was shaped by. “A breakthrough is when people finally find their space in areas they have never been before, but a breakout is when you take the culture and the people who created it and bring it around the world. When Gap came to me, this partnership signified a breakout for the culture,” said Dapper Dan. “This DAP GAP campaign is my love letter to Harlem, and my way of continuing to propel our culture and community forward. Gap gave us the global presence that allowed us to have the breakout and I can’t wait for the next generation to be a part of this movement.”
Appearing alongside Dap himself, the campaign stars a multigenerational cast of creatives and community leaders who have a strong connection to Harlem, whether it’s having grown up there or discovering it as their second home. These inspiring Harlemites include Melba Wilson, Harlem native and owner of icon Melba’s Restaurant, who is a close friend of Dapper Dan and a pillar of the Harlem community; Felipe Luciano, Long-time Harlem resident and friend of Dapper Dan, was an original member of The Lost Poets – regarded as one of the precursors to hip-hop – a journalist, and activist in the Puerto Rican civil rights movement ; Khary Lazarre-White and Jason Warwin, co-founders of The Brotherhood Sister Sol, whose organization empowers Harlem youth; poet Gabriela Lopez Castillo; and more.
In addition to intimate portraits of these creative leaders, the accompanying short film features a moving speech from Dapper Dan that serves as an open love letter to the community’s creative history and the next generation that is carrying it forward.
The campaign takes another step to show true commitment behind its celebration. In honor of Giving Tuesday and this collection drop, Gap is giving back to the youth with a $100,000 donation to The Brotherhood Sister Sol (whose leaders appear in the campaign). Founded and headquartered in Harlem, The Brotherhood Sister Sol is a Black-led social justice and youth development nonprofit organization where Black and Latinx youth claim the power of their history, identity, and community to build the future they want to see. By educating, organizing, and training, The Brotherhood Sister Sol challenges inequity and creates opportunity for all.
Gap’s brand identity is quintessentially American, and Dapper Dan is truly one of the most influential individuals in shaping American culture over the last half-decade. It is wise of Gap to pay its respects to and champion this legendary design figure whose impact extends far beyond fashion, and the two forces coming together to celebrate Harlem’s creative and activist community feels like the most fitting way they could have done it.
Creative Director | Calvin George Leung Designer | Dapper Dan Photographer & Videographer | Joshua Kissi Talent | Dapper Dan, Melba Wilson & Sa Cisse, Felipe Luciano, Khary Lazarre-White, Jason Warwin, Giannina Oteto, Starr Williams, Grey Iona, Alberth Johnson & Adonis, Gabriela Lopez Castillo, Chaz Anthony, Malaye Diakhate Stylist | Marion Kelly II Hair | Line Bille Makeup | Jaleesa Jaikaran Casting Director | Trevor Swain Set Designer | Two Hawks Young