Daniel Day's incredible journey began a stone's throw from his famed Harlem atelier: he grew up just down the street with six brothers and sisters, a civil servant father, and a mother who was a homemaker. In 1982 he finished an apprenticeship that took him to Africa and opened Dapper Dan's Boutique on 125th Street and Lexington Ave. Dapper Dan's rose to prominence quickly by way of its bespoke, hip-hop influenced designs that often re-appropriated logos from famous luxury houses like Gucci and Louis Vuitton; business boomed for ten years, but in 1992 lawyers from those same luxury houses descended and forced closure.
Twenty-five years later, one of Dapper Dan's most iconic pieces--a jacket for Olympic Gold Medalist Diane Dixon with oversized sleeves featuring the LV logo -- was reinterpreted (or copied) by Allesandro Michele for Gucci. The house responded to backlash by stating the jacket was an "homage" to Dapper Dan, then backed that statement with significant action.
Mr. Day appeared in the Gucci menswear campaign last fall, and the two partnered to reopen his Harlem atelier shortly after. The shop operates by appointment, providing access to custom Dapper Dan designs using Gucci raw materials. In addition, the first Gucci x Dapper Dan ready-to-wear collection recently launched to rave reviews; its lookbook features models and Harlem locals in the neighborhood. Says Dan, "Everyone paid homage to Dapper Dan, but no one ever paid him. The people have spoken and Gucci has listened. Nothing has been more significant in the Harlem cultural scene than Alessandro and Gucci coming to Harlem and partnering with Dapper Dan." May the journey continue!
1. Get dapper: dress up more than you dress down, take great pride in what you put on every day, and enjoy the splendor of self-expression that follows.
2. Go a little logo crazy--you can always find great deals on vintage or slightly used LV, GG, MCM, Goyard, Dior, Fendi etc. at Common Threads Boulder and Denver.
3. Remember: you never know what's just around the corner. It could be the folks that once drove you out of business now seek lucrative partnerships. Stranger things have happened...