Dapper Dan is a name many people may or may not be familiar with. His unique style, his love for Harlem, and his influence over black culture. Has become a turning point in fashion. Dan’s work began in the early 80s when he opened his iconic boutique in Harlem, New York. He was known for creating counterfeit luxury fashion pieces from brands imitating brands such as Gucci, Louis Vuitton, MCM, and Fendi.
Before rappers brought attention to his electric styles. Harlem kingpins, gangsters, and drug dealers. Were his first clientele, that eventually led to people in the hip-hop industry wanting those same styles. Dan has dressed the most popular people in hip hop including. Salt-N-Pepa, LL Cool J, Jam Master Jay, and Rakim. In 1988 his boutique caught the attention of Fendi’s lawyers. When a fight between Mike Tyson and Mitch “Blood” Green broke out in front of Dan’s boutique. Due to the lawsuits and raids Dapper Dan faced. It led to the boutique closing its doors forever.
Dapper Dan’s creations ultimately led fashion houses to mimic his designers. In recent years. We’ve seen designers incorporate streetwear styles into their ready-to-wear collections. I personally do believe Dapper Dan’s work influenced that cross over. Gucci’s creative director Alesandro Michele. Paid homage to Dapper Dan by releasing an exclusive Gucci x Dapper Dan collection. Last year, the collection was loved by many. Many hip-hop celebrities have worn this collection on red carpets. Bringing more attention to Dan’s work. Honestly, it was about time.
His pieces are something current creative directors would not think of. As black person interested in fashion. I admire his contributions and creativity so much. It is refreshing to discover black fashion designers that completely changed the game. This new generation of fashion does not have people like Dapper Dan anymore. Fashion has been taken over by mainstream brands and instagram. That the most influential people are not as recognized as they deserve to be.