Thirty-five years after having his shop closed for illegal use of luxury brand materials, Daniel Day better known as ‘Dapper Dan,’ Harlem’s hip-hop tailor, has partnered with Gucci and opened Harlem’s first luxury brand boutique.

“[It’s] a sign of the times,” he tweeted as he went on to explain that his new shop will feature made-to-order garments specifically designed for his clients’ unique tastes. But the new shop is more than a sign of the times – it’s a sign of evolution for ‘Dapper Dan,’ as Day is affectionately called— and for Gucci. It’s a shift from traditional expectations of luxury brands and a shift from the man Dapper Dan used to be. But one thing has remained the same: stylist and fashion designer Dapper Dan – then and now – has always been about bringing luxury to the streets.

Born and raised in Harlem, Day’s “eye for style” has always been influenced by a mix of of street life and a love of classic, wealthy attire. Despite being drawn to hustling, shoplifting and gambling as a teenager, Day’s love for a pair of sophisticated shoes from a local Goodwill, helped plant the seed of style in his heart.

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When you take a drunk and a slightly paranoid individual and send them running into a fun house where an evil clown awaits, you come out with New York’s new premier artist Wyatt Mills’ stark and intriguing works of art.

Honest and a bit surreal, Mills creates shockingly blunt paintings on canvas. As a 22-year-old painter who lives in Los Angeles, he emerges on darker issues plaguing society. But don’t be fooled, Mills still takes to the sunny beaches and loves surfing, eating out and music. His canvases are merely a creative reflection of what exists around us all. He attempts to expose our fears and utmost anxieties. He accomplishes this feat by finding his own creative voice through anger, frustration, fear and lots of observation.

As a young artist illustrating such deep issues, it would appear Mills’ insights are way beyond his years. “I forgot who said it, but I once read ‘anxiety is the handmaiden of creativity,” he told online art forum platinumcheese.com. As creativity goes, Mills’ art proves to be ever flowing and full of statements.

With nudity, caked makeup faces, bold lines of nightmarish realities and pleomorphic images, the up and coming artist poses a challenge to society’s standards. In a very confrontational way, Mills opens the door to questions of everyday values. What sets his work apart from other artists is his inhibitions. From looking at the work, you’ll know within seconds if you’re offended, inspired or creeped out. He claims that his honesty is important.

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Who knew that something or even someone that started as a fictional comic book character in 1966 could have such a positive impact on an entire demographic? Black Panther is one of many prime examples of how powerful black people can be when we come together for a treasured cause. The Black community saw the impact of this positive influence coming from a mile away and the importance of showing up and supporting this film. This was the chance for us to show our children that there are superheroes that look and speak just like them. This film served as an opportunity to encourage and educate people about the glorious continent of Africa, and most importantly, the chance to showcase unquestionable proof to Hollywood that an all Black cast can bring in huge numbers at the box office.

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Fashion designer Collette Dinnigan is all about appealing to the femininity in women — her two most recent collections, despite being for the fall and winter seasons, were entirely comprised of skirts and dresses, save for a single pair of shorts. The colors she utilizes speak to the same type of woman, with remarkably soft pallets and, at times, careful hints of lace. Her choice to dedicate her line to this type of client makes sense when considering that the South African-born and New Zealand-raised blonde beauty got her start in the world of lingerie. And despite expanding her fashion repertoire, Dinnigan has continuously devoted her time to this particular style.

Dinnigan, now based out of Australia, is capable of dressing her clients at any point in their lives. From the bedroom, their wedding day, to more simple street wear, her collections have them covered. Her once dry-clean only lingerie collection now boasts playful yet classy pieces, sporting both soft colors with lace trim to more bold animal prints. The intricacy of lingerie is one of her favorite aspects of the design process, as she tells New Zealand online fashion magazine Fashionz, “…what I love is that it’s all so tiny and small, it’s almost like you want to frame pieces! Whereas when you tend to get big gowns, with a lot of fabric, there isn’t the same ‘smallness’ of it, you know, the attention to detail? And I think you can use some really beautiful print, and not necessarily have to be so traditional. And it’s just the femininity of it all, really, and the trimmings, those are the bits that I love.” Her bridal collection ranges in style as well, but ultimately goes for a classic look in cool whites. Some are decorated with a more delicate silk organza while others are fully embroidered in Swarovski crystals. Her ready-to-wear pieces also go for bright looks, flirtatious dresses, and occasionally sheer and bold trim. This ability to take on all types of design makes her a powerhouse in the fashion world.

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Paul Gauguin, a French Post-Impressionist artist, once said “I am a great artist and I know it. The reason I am great is because of all the suffering I have done.”

There is no truer case than Nathaniel Mary Quinn, raised in the projects of Chicago, Quinn is no stranger to suffering. However, through the pain and loss, he managed to find inspiration and create moving pieces of artwork that eventually found  its way to famous galleries in London and New York.

Many nights Quinn would wake up to the sounds of gunshots ringing through the streets. Peace was  pleasantry not readily available to Quinn in his childhood. He started creating at a young age, with a little bit of help from his mother, “As a child, my mother allowed me to draw on the walls of our apartment. She would just clean the walls and let me draw again, repeatedly,” he told the Huffington Post. It was these walls that sparked the creative genius inside Quinn, starting from copying comic books to creating masterpieces on canvas.

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Weeks before graduating with a masters in painting from Maryland Institute College of Art, Amy Sherald was told her heart was only functioning at 18%. But cardiomyopathy (a rare heart disease) didn’t stop her from painting. So she carried on, painting day and night while she waited tables five days a week to pay for treatment. That is, until a routine stop at Rite Aid for art supplies almost turned deadly. What seemed like an ordinary heart flutter caused Sherald to blackout in the aisle only to wake up in a pool of blood underneath her head. But even as she was rushed to John Hopkins Hospital in an ambulance, she held on to her dream. “I’m not going to be afraid, it’s all going to be okay,” she told herself. Even as her heart dropped to 5% functionality, she wanted to paint. But overcoming the heart transplant wasn’t so easy. Due to physical ailments and the depressing side-effects of the medication, she could not paint for a year. “I told my friends, ‘I don’t want to do this anymore.’ It felt stupid and selfish,” she explained in an interview with the Baltimore Sun. But as the effect of the anti-rejection heart transplant meds lessened, Sherald reconnected herself with her six-year old inner child that dreamed of becoming a painter.

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If this brilliant Detroit photographer never laid eyes on the exhibit of the legendary French photographer Henri Cartier- Bresson, photography as we know it would be much different. Bill Rauhauser is known for his classic black-and-white photographs that captured the significant beauty and simple elegance of Detroit throughout several decades. Prior to seeing Cartier-Bresson exhibit, Rauhauser had no idea that his hobby of taking photographs could turn into a full blown career.

His photographs over the decades depict the simple moments in Detroit life. Whether it is a photo of a woman gazing off to the side as she enjoys a cigarette on an outside Detroit plaza while wearing a lavish peacoat and string of pearls, or a photo of pedestrians walking across a street with their heads intently focused on what’s in front of them as a young boy accompanies them with a balloon in his hand, Rauhauser’s photographs show us that,  as a society, we often don’t notice simple moments the world presents to us.

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Cross your straight shooter best friend, a little wild and surreptitious in nature, although nurturing a keen sense of intuition, and someone who is usually spot on, with the outward appearance of a clunky, beardy beast of a man with a sense of humor and imagination. The result? You get out-of-the-box rapper/chef Action Bronson.

“I am a f**king fat white boy. I have to be able to rap. I don’t have the look. I don’t have the typical slim dude, fancy boy look. That’s not me. I have to be able to rap, there’s no other choice or I get eaten alive,” the outspoken artist said to online music source xxlmag.com.

Truthfully, when you glance over Action Bronson, you ask yourself which genre he fits into. The New Yorker from Flushing Queens is a bit of a misfit in the ultimate sense of the word. He’s unapologetic and stubborn with a sense of loyalty and fresh ideas. Born to an Albanian father and Jewish mother, he inspires a new avenue for rappers.

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