Dapper Dan Will Be the First Black Designer in History To Receive the CFDA’s Prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award

Dapper Dan, the iconic Harlem designer who dressed the biggest names in music in the 1980s and 90s and then launched his own fashion line with Gucci in 2017, is now being honored with one of the most prestigious awards in fashion. Later this year, he will receive the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award — becoming the first Black designer in the CFDA’s 59-year history to receive the distinction.


Brandee Sanders of NewsOne reported that “for decades, visionary Dapper Dan has tapped into the power of innovation to play an instrumental role in shaping the landscape of fashion and [now] the Harlem native will be honored for his contributions to the industry.”

According to Sanders, Dapper Dan — whose real name is Daniel Day — is being awarded for his ability to reimagine and reinvigorate fashion from when he began his career back in 1982. 

“He took an innovative approach to design and production, using textiles that featured the logos of brands like Louis Vuitton and Gucci to create streetwear-inspired pieces that were donned by the likes of LL Cool J, Mike Tyson, Salt-N-Pepa, drug kingpins and others during the 80s,” Sanders said. “With every stitch, his creations embodied the flair, exuberance and spirit of hustle that flowed through Harlem — and still does today.”

From those humble beginnings in his first boutique, located on 125th Street in the heart of Harlem, the self-taught garment maker went on to change fashion history, defining an era and becoming one of the biggest names in the industry.

In an interview with Vanity Fair, Dapper Dan described his motivation and drive in the industry, saying, “what I’ve done in fashion, and in all my endeavors, is about looking for the angle. I was raised to do that. Looking for the angle, looking for the side that other people don’t see when it becomes necessary for me to see something different.” 

And as he detailed in his memoir, Dapper Dan: Made in Harlem, which was released in 2019, those efforts have continued to pay off.

The 2021 CFDA Awards will be awarded on Nov. 10.



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