Dapper Dan (birth name – Daniel R. Ray) is a Harlem couturier known for creating ample and comfortable clothes from rolls of Gucci, Fendi, or Louis Vuitton branded fabrics. His clientele included Floyd Mayweather, Aaliyah, Mike Tyson, Puff Diddy, Salt-N-Pepa, and Eric B. & Rakim.
Marcus Samuelsson, New York Times bestselling author of ”Yes, Chef,” said about Dan:
”Dapper Dan is a true one of a kind, self-made, self-liberated, and the sharpest man you will ever see.”
Dan was born on August 8, 1944, in Harlem, New York, USA. He has three sisters and three brothers. His mother, Lily, was a homemaker, while his father, Robert, was a civil servant.
He grew up ”dirt poor,” in an apartment in Harlem. Daniel wrote in his best-selling memoir that he was a drug dealer and a dice-game hustler.
His father worked three jobs to support the entire family.
Ray was arrested in his early 20s for dealing,
From 1968 to 1974, Daniel toured Africa as part of a Columbia University and Urban League apprenticeship program.
Daniel gained fame in the 80s after he remixed classic luxury-brand logos (like Louis Vuitton and Gucci) into his eclectic designs.
Ray first sold clothes out of the trunk of his car. In 1982, he opened a store, Dapper Dan’s Boutique, located on 125th Street between Fifth Avenues and Madison.
In 1985, Daniel entered the hip hop fashion. Ray styled for many rappers, artists, and other celebrities, including:
- Floyd Mayweather;
- LL Cool J;
- Mike Tyson;
- Eric B. & Rakim;
- Big Daddy Kane;
- The Fat Boys;
- Jam Master Jay;
- Bobby Brown;
In 1992, his business was shut down after legal action by Fendi.
In 2017, Gucci’s Cruise show featured a balloon-sleeved mink bomber jacket. The concept was created by Gucci’s creative director, Alessandro Michele. The concept showed similarities to Dapper’s 1989 Louis Vuitton version for Diane Dixon.
Later, Gucci partnered with Ray, opening a men’s line together. In 2018, Dapper started a store in Harlem. The store was the first luxury store on Lenox Avenue, a street that was described as The Avenue by James Baldwin and Harlem’s Heartbeat by Langston Hughes.
”It’s a miracle that keeps happening. The same year I get a clothes partnership with Gucci, a book deal with random house.”
Dapper went on to say:
”I said, ‘This can’t be happening.’ I said, ‘If I’m dreaming and somebody wake me up, and they – they pinch me and wake me up, I’m killing them.’”
In 2019, Dan wrote his memoir, titled – ”Made in Harlem.”
Ray said in the book:
”Did I think I might catch hell from the brands for co-opting their logos? Yeah, the thought crossed my mind.”
”I was aware of the risks, but you gotta understand, I’m a gambler at heart.”
Sony announced the development of a biopic based on Dan’s memoir.
The biopic will be adapted by writer and stand-up comedian Jerrod Carmichael, according to Vibe.
There is no information regarding Dapper Dan’s marital status.
He has eight children, named – Jelani Day, William Day, Tiffany White, Daniel Day Jr., Malik Day, Danielle Day, Aisha Day, and Danique Day.
READ MORE: Is Philippe Pozzo Di Borgo married?
”I am a Black man before I am a brand.” (HuffPost)
”The life I’m living now is totally amazing to me.”
”I dress to generate excitement, so people can say ‘Damn! I wanna do that!’”
”I realized early on that if I’m going to serve the low world, the hustlers, I’m going to be proficient.” (Vogue)
READ MORE: Vegas Dave Net Worth
He was referenced in a Jay-Z lyric in his song “U Don’t Know,” in 2001.
Dapper Dan – Net Worth
Dan earned most of his wealth from being a world-famous designer in the 80s and the start of the 90s. Stars that wore his clothes include Jay-Z, Salt-N-Pepa, Naomi Campbell, Jam Master Jay, LL Cool J, Alpo Martinez, Mike Tyson, and Big Daddy Kane.
In 2017, his career was revived after he partnered with Gucci. In 2018, Dan opened a store, while in 2019, his memoir was released. Therefore, Dapper Dan has an estimated net worth of $2.3 million.
Featured image source – © Guliver / Getty Images.
READ THIS NEXT: Who is Kyle Kulinski?