How Dapper Dan, Harlem’s Tailor, Mainstreamed “Ghetto Couture”

by MR Magazine Staff

Daniel Day—better known as Dapper Dan—recalls the good old days in the ’80s and ’90s when he was pioneering luxury streetwear, or what he likes to call “high-end, ghetto-fabulous clothing.” In 1983, Day opened his tailoring shop, Dapper Dan’s Boutique, in the heart of Harlem on 125th Street. At his prime, he was creating custom outfits for boxers, rappers, and gangsters. Everyone from Mike Tyson to LL Cool J wore the jumpsuits, bomber jackets, and hoodies he crafted using lambskin and mink and plastered with bootleg logos of European fashion houses like Gucci, Fendi, Chanel, and Louis Vuitton. Ten years later, Day was famously sued into oblivion by these luxury brands for copyright infringement. While he still operated a small tailoring operation with his son and grandson out of a brownstone in Harlem, he faded from the public eye. “I was underground,” Day tells me. “I wasn’t available to the mainstream media, but all the rappers and hustlers knew where to find me, yeah. I was the best-kept secret for a long time.” Read more at Fast Company.