The fashion world may now have grown to accept and embrace Harlem’s legendary couturier Dapper Dan, née Daniel Day, but the once-peddler of repurposed Gucci and other luxury wares started out as many people with a dream and a creative streak do — a self-taught entrepreneur navigating the hustle and bustle of New York City’s streets (the “212” region to be exact). Nearly six decades later, the designer has transcended his role as “the tailor of Harlem” into a global influencer and is sharing a glimpse into his journey through a new short film with fellow uptown native A$AP Rocky.
Influenced by AT&T’s round-table discussion at the brand’s first-ever 212 event earlier this year — a day to honor the 212 area code and especially Harlem Street Style — the five-minute clip chronicles Dapper Dan’s experience from the 1960’s up until today. Narrating his own rise and fall throughout the video, the designer recalls selling goods from his trunk, to having the most coveted looks around the way and even having his studio raided by the police after major fashion labels accused him of copying.
As the story goes, he’s since become an official collaborator with Gucci (not without its fair share of controversy) and has released a book, a co-branded collection and recently galvanized the company to increase its efforts of giving back to the community. Watch Dapper Dan and A$AP Rocky give a rundown of it all in the video above, and to learn more about this initiative go to AT&T’s CodesofCulture.com.
Recently, the Metropolitan Museum of Art created a series of collectible merchandise with different artists for this year’s Met Gala, including colorful patches and pins to celebrate Dapper Dan.