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Hip Hop Style: Then and Now

April 19, 2023 at 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

collage of Polaroid style photos with Harrriette Cole, Dapper Dan, April Walker, Elena Romero, and Antonio Gray

The Social Justice Center at FIT hosts a panel discussion about hip hop style over its 50 years, with experts Dapper Dan, April Walker, Antonio Gray, and Elena Romero, moderated by Harriette Cole.

Harriette Cole
is a veteran in the field of communications. Over the years she has produced educational seminars, panel discussions, in-person and electronically presented special events. Currently, she hosts livestreaming content for AARP, including the Real Conversations With series, through her role as multimedia associate producer. She also hosts a weekly radio show called Dreamleapers with Harriette Cole where she interviews dynamic people who have manifested their dreams and come to share their journey.

Daniel Day, known as Dapper Dan, is an iconic fashion designer who made a name for himself during the ’80s in NYC reimagining luxury pieces by creating customized streetwear for locals, hip-hop artists, and celebrities emblazoned with logos from major fashion houses. Dan made it all from car interiors to furs and custom leather jogger suits. Dan has worked with a multitude of musicians and celebrities including Bobby Brown, Salt-N-Pepa, Eric B. and Rakim, Bigg Daddy Kane, LL Cool J, Lil Kim, to name a few. Dapper Dan is the author of Dapper Dan: Made in Harlem-A Memoir (Random House) and the recipient of the Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award in 2021 at CFDA Fashion Awards.

April Walker is a fashion game-changer and culture shifter that inspired a lane creating a multi-billion industry coined as streetwear today. As the creator of Walker Wear, she was one of the first to dominate menswear urban fashion, implementing product placement and securing celebrity endorsements from Tupac, Notorious BIG, and even Beavis and Butt-Head. Walker Wear was also one of the first to kick in the doors for department and chain stores and command millions in sales for this category. Offering fashion and function, these designs helped catapult Walker as a phenomenon in the industry. Her brand has been featured in Forbes, Billboard, Essence, The New York Times, TMZ, Hypebae, Huffington Post, Wax Poetics, etc. She’s featured in the documentaries Fresh Dressed and Netflix’s The Remix HipHop X Fashion, with International Exhibits at the Kunsthal Museum, Centraal Museum, Soho House in Berlin, Dubai, and more. Also, in 2020, Walker curated the Women In Streetwear exhibition at New York’s Port Authority Bus Terminal, and serves as a contributor for the Streetwear Essentials online course offered by Parsons x Complex, and consults for the Department of Education with a customized curriculum.

Antonio Gray is the vice president and divisional merchandise manager of apparel for Downtown Locker Room (DTLR), a retail chain with over 250 stores in 19 states. Prior to joining DTLR in 2006, the Baltimore native held several positions at a pair of popular regional apparel retailers in the 1990s and 2000s: Merry-Go-Round and Changes.

Elena Romero is a journalist and assistant chair of Marketing Communications at the Fashion Institute of Technology. She is the co-curator of Fresh, Fly, and Fabulous: 50 Years of Hip Hop Style currently on display at The Museum at FIT. Romero is the co-editor of Fresh, Fly, and Fabulous: 50 Years of Hip Hop Style (Rizzoli) and author of Free Stylin’: How Hip Hop Changed the Fashion Industry (Praeger). She also is a TV correspondent and producer for the award-winning monthly lifestyle show LATiNAS airing on CUNY TV.

This event is free and open to the public; RSVP online


Katie Murphy Amphitheatre
Pomerantz Art and Design Center, Fashion Institute of Technology
New York City, NY United States


Social Justice Center at FIT