Dapper Dan, the Harlem King of Counterfeit Couture, Will Soon Get His Own Biopic
Daniel Day (aka Dapper Dan) is a fashion designer who helped bring Harlem streetwear into the mainstream by dressing such big name hip-hop performers as Salt-N-Pepa, LL Cool J, Jay-Z and other black celebrities like singer Aaliyah and boxer Mike Tyson. If you haven’t heard of him, don’t worry. Sony is developing a Dapper Dan movie, a biopic based on his upcoming memoir. Soon, all sorts of people will know about him and desire his killer fashions.
Between 1982 and 1992, Dapper Dan ran Harlem’s hottest custom tailor, a place where he fashioned leather goods, couture and even fur and car interiors, often emblazoned with unauthorized logos of high-end brands like Fendi, Gucci and Louis Vuitton. In fact, he started making clothes with their logos on them long before the actual brands did.
But unlike usual high-end counterfeiters, Dapper Dan didn’t sell his designs for less. By styling high-end logos into custom fashion pieces not actually offered by luxury retailers — sometimes with hidden pockets for drugs or bullet-proof Kevlar for extra protection — he made expensive knock-offs that were only affordable by successful hip-hop and sports stars.
Day is still alive today, and the publisher Random House is set to release his memoir sometime in 2019. A film based on the memoir will quickly follow. The book will be adapted into a screenplay by Jerrod Carmichael, a comedian and writer best known as the creator and lead actor of the semi-biographical NBC sitcom The Carmichael Show. Dapper Dan himself along with his son and brand manager, Jelani Day, will executive produce.
The film will be set in Harlem (of course) and is called a “high-stakes coming-of-age story.” He started life as a gambler and learned more about fashion while traveling through Africa. He had to close down his shop in 1992 after police investigated a local street fight between Tyson and another prize fighter, but he stepped back into the limelight in 2017 when Gucci ripped off one of his designs and subsequently opened up a Harlem shop with him as an apology.
In short, he has an interesting life that’ll make an amazing film.
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Featured image via Gucci