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Dapper Dan headlines Gap’s Spring ’22 campaign

Fashion pioneer Dapper Dan joins a diverse cast of talent and debuts a collaborative hoodie with the legacy brand.

Gap wants you to be you. That’s the message behind the legacy brand’s spring campaign, which features a diverse cast of individualists “radiating the profound joy that comes with the freedom of being your true self,” according to a release from the company.

Screengrab: Gap/YouTube

The campaign is headlined by living legend and fashion pioneer Dapper Dan, who graces the spot with his inimitable swag, putting his own spin on Gap’s all-American flavor with his trademark ascot and shades. “The bigger the dream, the bigger the team,” quips the icon—which could be interpreted as an allusion to the diversity, equity, and inclusion that should now be fueling the American Dream. As explained by Gap’s Global Head of Marketing Mary Alderete in a statement:

“As a brand rooted in modern American optimism, we celebrate what it means to be your true self today,” she says. “This campaign is an honest reflection of individuals shaping culture by embracing their own paths—not what has been historically or traditionally defined for them, but what they define to be true for themselves. The campaign creative captures these creators pioneering a more inclusive, accepting world and putting their own distinctive stamp on American style.”

Dan’s distinctive style will also be honored in a remix of the brand’s iconic logo hoodie, remixed to read “Dap” in place of “Gap.” The limited-edition release is a collaborative effort between the brand and the Harlem-based fashion pioneer and will drop on March 10.

Photo: Courtesy of Gap

Conceived by Gap Global Creative Director Len Peltier and captured by fashion photographer Zoey Grossman, the campaign “features noteworthy champions for social justice, environmentalism, women’s rights, and more.” It is voiced by another of its stars, non-binary trans-visibility artist
Kai-Isaiah Jamal
, reciting their verse, “Dream of Freedom. Dream of Me”:

And if there do be a dream
The dream has to include me
Otherwise ain’t gonna sleep
Or close my eyes just to be
If it do be a dream
I hope this dream’s dream
Is for me to be free

Other castmembers in Gap’s spring campaign include supermodel and healing arts student Shalom Harlow; creator, humanitarian, and model Indira Scott; model, children’s book author and water access activist Georgie Badiel-Liberty a.k.a The Water Princess; model, and musician Yumi Nu; entrepreneur, model and CEO of All Womxn Project Clementine Desseaux; fine artist Chito; singer-songwriter Raph; musicians The Spearman Brothers: Michael and Daniel Spearman; fine artist and designer Bryant Giles; b-boy break-dancer and artist David “illy” Bennett and recording artist Ryan Yoo / boylife.

The Dapper Dan x Gap hoodie will be available exclusively on Gap.com on March 10 at 4 p.m. ET.

Maiysha Kai is Lifestyle Editor of theGrio, covering all things Black and beautiful. Her work is informed by two decades’ experience in fashion and entertainment, a love of great books and aesthetics, and the indomitable brilliance of Black culture. She is also a Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter and editor of the YA anthology Body (Words of Change series).

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