Dapper Dan is a pioneer in a streetwear, bringing couture fashion to the hood and influencing a legion of future designers in the process. Life + Times caught up with designer for his first interview in 20 years and the OG drops plenty of gems regarding fashion, hustling and even gentrification.
Outfitting hustlers from his outpost in Harlem eventually led to rappers wanting in. “So goes Harlem, so goes the Black world,” says Dan, while seating in his brownstone, adding, “So the rappers want to be like the gangsters.”
Dapper Dan is famous for outfiting hustlers and rappers in expensive, and very fresh, bootlegs. No slander, it is what it is. He had to adapt when 5th Avenue was hating on his hustle. “When I went to Africa and I came back I said I need something to do, I don’t want to be in the street.,” he recalls. “I said you know what, I’ma open up a store and sell clothes and cater to the hustlers in Harlem. But when I opened up the store and I went to major companies…nobody would sell to me; because I was Black.”
In the interview he recalls that Louis Vuitton, MCM and Fendi sued him. Ironically, they all would take cues from his own designs.
Check out the enlightening interview with the legendary Dapper Dan, courtesy of Life + Times, below.
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