Daniel “Dapper Dan” Day, Hip Hop’s reigning courtier, has been dressing some of music’s most famous faces since he opened his first boutique on 125th street in Harlem in 1982.
Known for remixing high-end brands into flamboyant streetwear, Dapper Dan’s creations have inspired designers for the past three decades. Last year, luxury fashion house Gucci came under fire for cultural appropriation when some of its Resort/Cruise 2018 collection included a jacket that many felt was ripped straight from Dan’s closet.
After the Internet lambasted the brand, Gucci admitted that Dapper Dan’s designs were an inspiration for its’ line and reached out to work with the Harlem innovator. While Dan could have been upset about being copied, he took it in stride and formed a partnership with Gucci that led to a new Dapper Dan Harlem boutique.
“I have seen [echoes of] my work in various forms, with various companies,” Dan told GQ. “The only new idea that I had to get used to is getting credit for it! But social media was up in arms about it—you know, social media is new to me, so it all took me by surprise. But, no—I plan to just move ahead. Sometimes I would have to address it, in fairness to the public, but all in all, I’m very happy about the arrangement Gucci and I have.”
The push to make sure Dapper Dan receives proper recognition as one of America’s premiere designers has not only resulted in the Gucci partnership, but also in an upcoming memoir and biopic. Produced by Sony, writer and comedian Jerrod Carmichael is working on a project that will bring Dapper Dan’s story to the big screen. Described as a “ high-stakes coming-of-age story,” the film will be based on Dan’s forthcoming book.
And the fashioner said he’s ready to tell it all.
“It’s time to tell all. From growing up with holes in my shoes and swimming in The Harlem River, to crossing The River Nile in Africa in search of my identity,” Dan wrote on Instagram. “I came from nothing, and God has blessed me with a partnership with Gucci, a book deal with Random House, and now a movie deal with Sony Pictures.
Harlem and Africa, through the grace of God, have shaped my life.”