Dapper Dan went from a gambler on the streets of Harlem, New York to a fashion icon for musical artists like LL Cool J & Mary J. Blige—here's his inspiring story.
"The reason fashion is so important, especially when you grow up poor, is because you learn early on how fashion could take away the stigma of being part of the lower class in society, so that's why fashion became so important to me," Dan says.
"In 1974, I opened up my first boutique on 125th street in Harlem. I focused on luxuries [like] exotic skins, silks, [and] furs. My first clientele was Gansters and entertainers. Then, a new musical genre came about, Hip Hop, and I zeroed in on Hip Hop artists. I started making things for Big Daddy Kane, LL Cool J, Salt-n-Pepa and Mary J. Blige. I was the best kept secret when it came to fashion in the underground," he explains. We can't say we're surprised Dapper Dan became such a fashion icon!