Legendary streetwear icon Dapper Dan is set to make history as the first Black designer to receive the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s (CFDA) lifetime achievement award.
Daniel Day, known as Dapper Dan, is a fashion designer who made a name for himself during the ’80s in NYC. He gained fame for reimagining luxury pieces by creating customized streetwear for locals, hip-hop artists, and celebrities emblazoned with logos from major fashion houses. Dan made it all from car interiors to furs and custom leather jogger suits. He was eventually shut down by the authorities and shut out by fashion houses.
That all changed in recent years when the long memory of hip hop fans was reignited following Gucci ripping off Dan’s classic ‘80s designs on a major runway. The coat in question was made for Olympic sprinter Diane Dixon who shared an original photo in the coat, captioning it, “Give Dapper Dan his credit. He did it first in 1989!” Shockingly, Gucci acknowledged its wrongdoing, offering Dan a partnership to create a ready-to-wear and accessories line which spurred a resurgence of the couturier’s career.
The 77-year-old fashion icon is being honored with the CFDA’s Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award. He is the first Black fashion designer to be awarded the honor and the first designer to receive the honor without ever doing a solo fashion show.
Dapper Dan will be joined at the CFDA Awards by other prominent Black designers being honored and nominated, including Jerry Lorenzo, Grace Wales Bonner, Kenneth Nicholson, Jameel Mohammed, Edvin Thompson, Aurora James, Christopher John Rogers, Telfar Clemens, and Virgil Abloh.