Dapper Dan Is Finally a Creative Director, Thanks to a World-Renowned Paint Company

The legendary designer is the creative director of Sherwin-Williams' “The Loneliest Color” campaign and has created eight one-of-one pieces of apparel to celebrate.

Via Sherwin-Williams

Believe it or not, Dapper Dan has never been a creative director.

His custom monogram creations have been worn by everyone from LL Cool J to Floyd Mayweather Jr. He has worked on capsule collections with Gap. Gucci has given him collaborations and an atelier in Harlem. His resume speaks for itself. But the illustrious title of “creative director” has eluded him, until today.

Paint company Sherwin-Williams has officially named Dapper Dan the creative director of its new “The Loneliest Color” campaign.

“To be honest with you, this is one of the hallmarks of my career,” Dapper Dan tells Complex. “You've seen everything that I've done with Gucci. Louis Vuitton and all the major brands have been implementing the innovation that I brought. But never once was I offered the position of creative director. That's what makes this here so important.”

Since 2011, Sherwin-Williams has declared its Color of the Year. In 2024, it takes a new approach. The Loneliest Color focuses on Kingdom Gold SW 6698, a shade of yellow that Sherwin-Williams says is the least tinted in its lineup. For context, millions of gallons of Sherwin-Williams’ top colors are tinted each year. In the last 14 years, Kingdom Gold SW 6698 has been tinted only 11,000 times total. The Dapper Dan-led campaign is meant to spotlight the color that so many people have overlooked. 

“[Kingdom Gold] represents achievement, accomplishment, going from zero to hero,” says Dapper Dan. “It's like being a rapper. Until you have a gold chain, you're not even an official rapper. And the thicker the chain, the bigger the rapper. So, [Kingdom Gold] represents elevation for me. It's hard to imagine that it's the least tinted color. Everybody has something gold.”

Of course, Dapper Dan also had to design some special clothing to mark his latest venture with Sherwin-Williams. He partnered with Sue Wadden, Sherwin-Williams Director of Color Marketing, to create eight one-of-one pieces. Each predominantly features Kingdom Gold alongside other vibrant shades of purple, red, and blue. Highlights include a velour track jacket with a giant leopard head emblazoned on the back, vest with a faux shearling lining and loop buttons, and Dapper Dan’s first-ever soccer kit complete with Sherwin-Williams' recognizable logo (a paint can spilling onto the Earth) on the chest.. Embossed leather jackets, Puma sneakers, and a bucket hat are also included. 

“The mission was to take the historical, archival pieces and the Sherwin-Williams colors and bring them all together,” says Dapper Dan. “All of them are pieces of wearable art, reimagining the beauty of the loneliest color with power.”

The range will be auctioned off via eBay from April 4 through April 14. The proceeds will be donated to Habitat for Humanity with a minimum contribution of $100,000. A portion of the proceeds will support affiliate organizations in Harlem.

Dapper Dan’s bold approach to design is still being referenced by some of the biggest fashion houses in the world. A recent example came during Louis Vuitton Men’s Fall/Winter 2024, the third presentation under the creative direction of Pharrell Williams. Twin models walked side-by-side in monogram tracksuits that couldn’t help but remind you of the signature looks that Dapper Dan was cooking up in his Harlem studio back in the ‘80s and ‘90s. Dapper Dan is happy to see his legacy live on, even if he isn’t always directly involved. 

“Pharrell is a confirmation to what I've done,” says Dapper Dan. “The whole collection is confirming, ‘Yes, we are paying homage to Dapper Dan through Pharrell.’ Louis Vuitton is continuing to honor hip-hop, to honor Dapper Dan, to honor logomania, when everybody else is talking about quiet luxury.”

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