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Dapper Dan - Pioneers Who Have Shaped America's Fashion Industry

Daniel Day, born August 8, 1944, known as Dapper Dan, is a fashion designer from Harlem, New York. He made his name in the late ’80s and ’90s as the tailor who provided rap culture with its signature gangster-inspired style, reworking traditional luxury products to outfits for emerging hip-hop stars and athletes including the likes of LL Cool J, James Jackson and Floyd Mayweather. Dapper Dan was also popular for being decried by some of the top high-end clothing brands like Gucci, Fendi and Louis Vuitton for repurposing their products into clothing and accessories people — particularly, Black people — would want to wear.

He pioneered “logomania”, the style of incorporating popular brand symbols into his designs, and his pieces became so popular in the early 1990s that Fendi filed a successful lawsuit against him that shut down his boutique. Nearly 30 years later, many of the brands that spurned him are singing his praises. The sponsorships and the awards he has received show that his career has come full circle. Most notably, he became the first Black designer to receive the Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award in 2021. He is also the first to win it without having hosted a formal runway show. Previous winners include Vera Wang, Calvin Klein and Giorgio Armani.


Image: Dapper-Dan-Saves-Gucci-GQ-02112019_3x4_Dapper Dan for GQ_Image by Gabriela Celeste 2017.

Text: Jones, J (2021) ‘Designer Dapper Dan just made history. Here are some of his iconic looks’ 11 November. Available at:

Business of Fashion ‘Dapper Dan: Biography’. Available at:


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