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Fashion icon Dapper Dan is one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People of 2020
Fashion icon DAPPER DAN was honored by TIME as one of the Most Influential People of 2020. In her essay explaining why he is a visionary trailblazer, Missy Elliott writes:
Dapper Dan is the blueprint for our culture in hip-hop. He defined fashion in “the hood” and in celebrity culture. According to him, dapper no longer belonged just to Wall Street and business professionals; Dan claimed the term for the Black community. The first outfits of his that I remember were on the cover of Eric B. and Rakim’s album Paid in Full—they were refreshing, a blend of hood and expensive. Then I began to see iconic looks from his creative mind on artists such as Big Daddy Kane and Salt-N-Pepa, and even on boxers like Mike Tyson and Floyd Mayweather.
I realized in watching Dan how truly inspiring he was—he never stopped working and always remained diligent to his craft. His influence extends far past his defining style; he opened the first couture atelier ever in Harlem and stood up to racial discrimination in the fashion industry. Now, he has a groundbreaking collaboration collection with Gucci. With so many years in the game, he remains a culture leader, but he has stayed true to himself, and that will never go out of style.
With his eponymous store on 125th Street, Dapper Dan pioneered streetwear in the early 1980s, co-opting luxury branding to design original garments with high-end detail. Known for using exquisite leathers, furs, and other fine materials, he first drew powerful New York City hustlers as clientele, who all came due to his strong street reputation as a legendary professional gambler and dandy. He then went on to outfit entertainers and other celebrities, including Eric B. & Rakim, LL Cool J, Salt-N-Pepa, Mike Tyson, Missy Elliott, JAY-Z, Beyonce, Aaliyah, P. Diddy, Floyd Mayweather, and many more. Dapper Dan has been featured on platforms including The New York Times, Elle, Vogue, W, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, CNN, and Netflix. His works have been on display at The Smithsonian, The Museum at FIT, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and The Museum of Modern Art. Dapper Dan’s boutique reopened in 2017 in a major partnership with Gucci. His memoir, Dapper Dan: Made in Harlem is a New York Times Bestseller, and is now being developed into a premium drama series and a documentary series. Dapper Dan has been honored with the Council of Fashion Designers of America's (CFDA) Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award- the first designer to win the award without ever staging a solo fashion show.