The man who should be credited as an architect of streetwear is finally getting his just due by popular media. Dapper Dan was recently profiled in an article by the New York Times which expands on his background, how he defined Hip-Hop fashion and more.
In the last two weeks Dan’s legacy has seen a resurgence due to a blatant style robbery by Gucci. The luxury brand recently debuted their 2018 collection which included a fur paneled bomber jacket that bore a striking resemblance to one of Dan’s signature pieces crafted for gold medal Olympian Diane Dixon.
After much backlash on social media Gucci admitted via Instagram that Dan was indeed the inspiration for the balloon monogrammed sleeve number in question. The New York Times caught up with him and got the normally reserved tailor to open up; somewhat.
How he got his nickname:
“The name was a combination of two things. I was the flyest young guy in my neighborhood. But there was also an older guy, a gambler, and his name was Dapper Dan. When I started beating this guy in the crap games, he said, ‘You are the new Dapper Dan.’ He was also a really great tenor saxophonist. He told me: ‘Just call me Tenor Man Dan. Now, you’re Dapper Dan.’”
On his start in fashion:
“A lot of manufacturing businesses began selling off all of their equipment, because they were moving their operations offshore, to China,” he said. “As these manufacturers began to collapse in this country, I knew I needed to get in and salvage what they were leaving behind, so I could build my business. I remember going to an auction in Maine to get a particular machine that cut leather. Most times, I would be the only black guy at these auctions and I would ask questions of all of the experts who knew about the various machines. That is how I learned this business: by asking the right questions.”
The birth of his signature style being inspired by a Louis Vuitton pouch:
“This dude was bragging about the pouch,” Mr. Day said. “And it occurred to me, if that’s how he feels about the pouch, how would he feel if that Louis Vuitton pouch became a whole outfit?”
The Times did confirm that Gucci has reached out in hopes of collaborating with Dapper Dan, who only would say, “We’re at the table”. Additionally the periodical reported that Dap’s work will be featured in the Museum of Modern Art’s upcoming fall show.
Happy to see the Harlem legend get properly recognized for his indelible influence on the culture.
In 1985, a young designer came to my store seeking guidance. He had incredible talent and electric ambition, so I took him under my wing. I let him design and produce his own t-shirts in my store and sell them to the various entertainers that would come to shop with me. After mastering his craft, he went on to open his own store in Harlem, design the @BadBoyEnt logo for @IamDiddy, and create a huge movement with his own line called #Ferg54. That movement also changed lives by creating lots of jobs for people in our communities. Years later, his son, @ASAPFerg, is one of the biggest names in hip hop and I could not be more proud. #Harlem