Dapper Dan reveals an exclusive excerpt for his upcoming memoir
The Harlem legend Dapper Dan is set to drop his memoir Dapper Dan: Made In Harlem in July. If you’re hip to his legacy you know there will be a lot of gems and life lessons from every except of fashion. The book is both an ode to Dan’s out of the box creativity and industry-changing hustle, as well as a history changing in Harlem.
An excerpt from the prologue via GQ Magazine
It was a midnight like any other at the store. The lights were on out front, the door unlocked, the grate rolled halfway up. Dapper Dan’s Boutique was open. My night crew of tailors was in the back filling orders. Jackets, jumpsuits, parkas.
Their sewing machines hummed into the wee hours. I was lying on my bed in the little apartment I’d built in back for myself. Most nights, you could find me there, rereading a book of philosophy or spirituality or trying to sneak in a nap.
I had good reasons for never closing the shop and rarely leaving it. For one, a lot of my customers preferred late-night visits, for anonymity during the week or for the after-hours vibe of the weekends. I also had to keep an eye on my employees, who were backdooring my designs. It was my name on the awning out front, and in my world, your name means everything. It was my reputation, my brand, and people came from all over the city and beyond—from Philly and Chicago, Houston and Miami—because they wanted a Dapper Dan. I was the store, and the store was me.
We were open all day every damn day for nine straight years.
And yet I couldn’t really complain. After three decades hustling in the streets, it was my first legitimate hustle, and business was good. Real good. That night, I heard someone walk into the store and got myself out of bed. I closed the book, washed my face to wake up, and glanced in the mirror to make sure I looked decent. I wasn’t young anymore. I had a wife. I had grown kids and babies. With a deep breath, I put on my shop persona and emerged into the light.