“No one has a story like Dapper Dan.  His evolution from hustler to fashion icon is the stuff of legend.”

~ Janelle Okwodu, journalist, Vogue

On August 8, 1944 a baby boy was born in the Harlem community of the Manhattan borough to Robert and Lily Day.  They named him Daniel and he would be one of the couple’s seven children.  His father worked as a civil servant while his mother was a homemaker.  A bright and industrious child, he grew to be a street-savvy, young adult.  Daniel, now known as “Dapper Dan” had become involved in the trappings, including alcohol, drugs and gambling, of an urban lifestyle.

In his early twenties, he worked at a Black newspaper, Forty Acres and a Mule, while living typical of a hustler in the bustling metropolis of New York City.  Day was active in a collaboration of Columbia University in the City of New York and the local branch of the Urban League.  His engagement led to his touring of Africa from 1968 until 1974.

Upon re-settling in Harlem after his return home to the United States, he resumed his habits as a hustler.  Active in the streets, Day even sold stolen goods from his car and gambled.  Deciding to enter the business of style, he initially sought to be a clothing wholesaler.  However, in attempting to purchase higher-end textiles and luxury pieces, including exotic hides and furs, he constantly faced obstacles of racial and community discrimination. 

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