The Evolution of Dapper Dan: Then and Now

photo credit: Santiago Felipe / Getty Images 

Designer Dapper Dan, is a trailblazer in the fashion industry. Dan has a influenced a whole generation of hip-hop fashion trends. The designer is originally from Harlem, New York and made a name for himself by making leather jackets and tracksuits emblazoned with bootleg Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Fendi logo. In 1982 Dan opened Dapper Dan’s Boutique.


The boutique was a pillar in the community and was located on 125th street. At times the store stayed open for 24 hours, 7 days a week. The boutique carted to local drug dealers, athletes, hip-hop stars, and gangsters. Some of his clients included Mike Tyson and Salt-N-Pepa. Eventually the boutique was raided for trademark infringement in 1992.


Now, years later his legacy continues. In fact, many luxe companies are influenced by him and his designs.  In 2017, Gucci’s creative director Alessandro Michele, paid homage to Dan by designing a jacket based on a well-known his design for Diane Dixon in 1989.

He later partnered with Gucci, and collaborated on a men’s fashion line. As of 2018, Dan opened a new atelier on Lenox Avenue in partnership with Gucci. Dapper Dan of Harlem, is “the first luxury house fashion store in Harlem”


Take a look at some defining moments in his career below.