Hip-hop fashion icon Dapper Dan reveals his most stylish customers

Daniel Day, affectionately known as Dapper Dan, has been a household name for decades due to his iconic career as a fashion designer and haberdasher for New York City’s biggest hip-hop acts. Much of Dapper Dan’s clientele are fashion icons — in large part due to his own creative vision — and constantly inspired Dapper Dan to push the fashion envelope and create many of the most iconic trends of 1980s and 1990s hip-hop culture. In his latest memoir, “Dapper Dan: Made in Harlem” he chronicles his journey through hip-hop fashion to today, where he partnered with Gucci to create a custom luxury boutique in Harlem. Dapper Dan discussed his “flyest” customers on “Salon Talks.”

Despite having dressed some of the biggest names in the music industry, such as Jay-Z and Salt N’ Peppa, Dapper Dan explained that his most fashionable clients were Harlem drug kingpins. “Jack Jackson. Jack Jackson was the last black guy to completely control the drug game in Harlem. So, if I win him I win Harlem. So, you got to get the kingpin. Alpo copied Jack,” he told Salon’s D. Watkins. “Alpo used to come to the store and he couldn't even come in when Jack was there. And after Jack leave, he asked me, ‘Yo, what did Jack get?’ I built around that.”

Out of the hip-hop acts that came to him, Dapper Dan was torn between three: “It would be like a three-way race between Jam Master Jay & Run DMC, Eric B and Rakim and L.L. [Cool J] … those three they pushed the envelope for me.”

Watch the video above to hear more about Dapper Dan’s illustrious clientele. Watch the full episode to learn about how fashion became his calling in life.

About “Salon Talks”

Hosted by Salon journalists, “Salon Talks” episodes offer a fresh take on the long-form interview format, and a much-needed break from the partisan political talking heads that have come to dominate the genre. “Salon Talks” is a destination for information through conversation. Viewers can expect discussions with A-list actors, artists, authors, thinkers, and newsmakers as we explore the full range of the human condition. The show streams live on Facebook and Twitter and each episode is published in full on Salon.com.

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