Book Review: Dapper Dan, Made in Harlem

Having lived in Harlem for four years, Dapper Dan was always a person I'd hoped I would run into. He's not only a Harlem icon but a true pioneer for high-end streetwear. I knew I'd fan-girl over him if I was ever given the chance as I did my weekly Whole Foods run on 125th and Malcolm X.

From the 1970’s until now, Dapper Dan has revolutionized fashion. He began his famous haberdasher in Harlem in 1982 by repurposing streetwear with high-end logos -- and from there, there was no looking back at what he could accomplish. He has dressed all the hip-hop greats from Jay-z to Salt N Peppa and even collaborated with Gucci, creating a studio in Harlem that opens only for exclusive appointments.

Dapper Dan Made in Harlem

Dapper Dan, Made in Harlem is one of the most scandalous things I’ve read in awhile. He begins his autobiography -- which is part cultural studies, part fashion autobiography -- about growing up as a poor African American kid in Harlem. This book is an homage to his childhood dreams about dressing like the Harlem street hustlers in the 1960’s -- and being the fashion icon he is today. Everything about him is extremely lovable, to his obsession with his afro, to his passion for dressing up (even for school as a kid).

Of course a man -- who is now 77 -- has a thing or two to say about growing up and dressing men who make serious paper. For anyone who needs to turn off Netflix and dive into a good book to get inspired by someone completely self made, this one is it.

Born Daniel Day in 1945, Dapper Dan has gone through many obstacles -- one being closing his store in 1992 and re-opening it with materials from Gucci in 2017. As an appreciation for our hip-hop fashion icon, we thought you’d might enjoy some of the best Dapper Dan looks ...because he is a VIBE if we ever saw one:

Dapper Dan with LL Cool J vintage photo

1986: Dapper Dan with LL Cool J in a custom made Gucci/Dapper Dan bomber jacket.

Woman in Dapper Dan outfit outside next to carDapper Dan

Part of the lookbook for the Gucci/Dapper Dan collab in 2017.

Salt n Peppa

SAVING THE BEST FOR LAST. Salt N Peppa in Dapper Dan circa the 90's.


Right now, it's to beneficial to support your local, or any for that matter, book store. So, if you can, GO BUY THIS BOOK ASAP. And while we are almost certain a show will be made out of this one, the read is always better.

Find it on Amazon or your local bookstore HERE.