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Iconic Harlem fashion designer Dapper Dan has no plans to slow down

His real name is Daniel Day and he’s earned his stripes as one of Harlem’s most iconic fashion designers with no sign of slowing down. 

Ashley Mastronardi

Dec 5, 2023, 12:06 AM

Updated 226 days ago

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People call him Dapper Dan. 
“I got my nickname from the guy I learned to hustle the street game from,” Dapper Dan told News 12 New York.   
His real name is Daniel Day and he’s come a long way from the street game. He’s earned his stripes as one of Harlem’s most iconic fashion designers with no sign of slowing down. 
“I am very happy that I have the strength and vitality to keep going,” he said. 
Born in Harlem, he was leading a life of hustling before a trip to Africa in the late 1960s inspired him to change focus. He became a celebrated designer and has dressed everyone from Bobby Brown to Beyonce. But despite his high profile, he says the fabric of Harlem keeps him going.  
“A lot of designers have mood boards. My mood boards are the streets of Harlem,” he said.  Bronx native DJ Kidd Swag waited to meet Dapper Dan while clutching his memoir.  “In order to be something, you have to see it. And with Dapper Dan, he came from nothing and he’s made so much of himself – look how many people came out today,” she said.  Khary Lazarre-White agrees. He’s part of the campaign and runs The Brotherhood Sister Sol - a Harlem-based social justice organization for Black and Latin youth. Dapper Dan has shared his story there.  “It tells young people there’s a way to success and there’s a way to follow your dreams and do the things your passionate about and Dapper Dan is a lived reality and example of that,” Lazarre-White said.  The Dap Gap collection will be available in select Gap stores and online. 


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