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Black History: Dapper Dan

Written by on February 6, 2020

“When you’ve been excluded from the class, and they’re going on a trip, you usually don’t follow along on the trip.”

One of the most influential urban (hip hop) designers of 80’s and early 90’s and considered Hip Hop’s fashion godfather Dapper Dan built a brand that an entire culture was able to engage with and is still relevant today.

The Harlem Entrepreneur Daniel “Dapper Dan” Day never stopped working from 1982 up until 1992 his business Dapper Dan Boutique was open 24 hours a day in Harlem, New York. Dapper Dan was most famous for his the way he printed luxury fashion logos like Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Fendi on leather garments. His clientele consisted of Hip Hop artist, moguls, and athletes like     P. Diddy, RUN D.M.C., LL Cool J, Slick Rick, Rakim, and Salt N Pepa, Mike Tyson and Floyd Mayweather. As his success grew and Dapper Dan’s store became the fashion capital of that era.

Dapper Dan’s logo designs would spread to custom car interiors and exteriors, curtains, handbags, and even furniture. He was the first to bring designer fashion into the street culture setting and set the tone for “urban” fashion today.

In 1988 Dapper Dan’s success came to an abrupt end when the legendary boxer Mike Tyson got into a scuffle with Mitch Green outside of his 125th street boutique that made headlines. Shortly after that Loui Vuitton, Gucci, and Fendi all sued him for trademark infringement and unwanted association with the drug trade.

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