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In 1988, rapper Rakim posed on the cover of his album “Follow The Leader” with Eric B. He’s wearing a leather jacket, patterned with Gucci logos and with Rakim’s name in huge letters on the back. But the jacket wasn’t made by the Italian fashion house.
It was made by Dapper Dan.
From GQ Style:
Born Daniel Day and hailing from 129th and Lexington Avenue in New York City, he is the personification of one of America’s most famous (and notorious) neighborhoods, combining the elegance and swagger—the deep sense of history and the energetic hustle—that is Harlem.
Dap is most readily known as the tailor and couturier who gave rap music (and the cocaine ’80s) its signature style, draping everyone from Big Daddy Kane to Mike Tyson in unforgettable, one-of-a kind counterfeits of the trendiest upmarket brands of the day: Gucci, Fendi, Louis Vuitton, and MCM—acts of sartorial piracy so extravagant, so daring, that they demanded to be described with the neologism “knockups” rather than knockoffs. Whereas conventional bootleggers “stepped on” the street value of their chosen logo—making expensive brands cheaper, more accessible—Dapper Dan made luxury even more luxurious, producing custom looks in fur and designer leather, scarcely affordable for anyone outside the elite circles of sports stars and drug kingpins.
But in the 1990s, major fashion label Fendi noticed that Dap was putting their logo on his clothing and they shut his store down.
Now he’s designing in partnership with Gucci, he led a “Dapper Dan” challenge on Lifetime’s “Project Runway” and has a new memoir out to boot.
Indeed, when comedians Desus Nice and The Kid Mero did a skit about New York City mayor Bill de Blasio running for president, one respondent suggested that Dapper Dan should replace him as the mayor of New York, should de Blasio win.
We talk to him about logomania and more.
Produced by Morgan Givens.
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