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Dapper Dan: Made in Harlem

4.38  ·  Rating details ·  1,113 ratings  ·  221 reviews
The story of a legendary designer who pioneered high-end streetwear, from a storefront in Harlem to the red carpet in Hollywood, dressing everyone from Salt-N-Pepa and Eric B. & Rakim to Beyoncé and Jay-Z along the way.

With his now-legendary store on 125th Street in Harlem, Dapper Dan pioneered high-end streetwear in the early 1980s, remixing classic luxury-brand logos int
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published July 9th 2019 by Random House
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Average rating 4.38  · 
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 ·  1,113 ratings  ·  221 reviews

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Robin Loves Reading
Daniel R. Day became known as Dapper Dan. This incredible man became an overwhelming success after decades of fighting on the streets of Harlem. Dapper Dan suffered great poverty and survived as a hustler. He wanted to design clothes. The ideas were many, even if the opportunities were few. Always finding his way into success, while dealing with drugs, credit card fraud and other nefarious activities, he kept his eye on the prize. Despite the many setbacks and constant rejection, Day was a fight ...more
Mar 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, favorites
Please note that I received this book via NetGalley. This did not affect my rating or review.

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore—
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?
Langston Hughes

Wow. So it's funny that I now know who made the clothes that the rappers that I grew up watching (Big Daddy Kane) on tv wore. I never heard of
WTF Are You Reading?
Apr 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
There's so much to be said for Dapper Dan as a book.
Because just as it is the autobiographical narrative of one man's life.
It is also The narrative of a people, Harlem, and a way of life.

Dan's honest and sometimes hard to read introspective on himself, his family, and his community. Gives readers a very clear understanding of the effects of gentrification, drugs, and economic opportunities, or the lack thereof. In the formation or degradation of a society's population and growth as a whole.
Aug 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dapper Dan is not just an icon in the Harlem community, but his life, as a metaphor for the community, reflects its hutzpah and resilience, his memories uncoiling to reveal a heyday long gone and hailing a new, replacement dawn in its wake.  Daniel R. Day shares his recollections in a new book entitled Dapper Dan: Made in Harlem and reading this memoir is like running a finger along an African American timeline marking the second half of the twentieth century and beyond. Day introduces his famil ...more
Amy Bruestle
May 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I won this book through a giveaway in exchange for an honest review...

This was truly a really great book! I am really picky when it comes to memoirs too. I think because he talks about addiction and related things is a big part in me liking it so much because i could literally either relate to what he was saying, or I knew someone who could. I flew through this one quickly and I enjoyed the whole thing!
Aug 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
UNCLE DAN, UNCLE DAN!!! My Lord, what a book. I do not know what I was getting into but BAYBEEEH... Uncle Dan didn’t leave anything on the table and I LOVED EVERY CRUMB—EVERY BITE!!!

I was laughing, I was emotional... and I really was astounded because I heard of Dapper Dan via The Friend Zone Podcast being that he is from Harlem and the first to partner with Gucci. I was pulled in from the 1st sentences, I had no idea that he was so influential or moving that much money at his Boutique. I pray t
Nov 28, 2019 rated it liked it
Interesting random find about a guy growing up in Harlem back in the day and all his hustling (drugs, dice, gambling, credit card fraud, etc.) that led to him ultimately setting up a boutique clothing shop in Harlem. He was smart and worked very hard. The reader was great and the book was written with the poor grammar the author used, which added reality and color. I thought it was interesting that after all the cheating he did in his life, he was so angry and indignant when the feds confiscated ...more
Anna Alexander
Jul 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book should be required reading for every Business 101 class. Want to be successful? Learn how to hustle.
Teonna Taylor
Mar 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Daniel "Dapper Dan" Ray does an amazing job of bringing readers into his world and detailing what made him into the fashion extraordinaire and Black man he is revered for today. Dapper Dan grew up in Harlem with both parents and six siblings. Although he was rich from the love, teachings, and closeness of his family, he and his family grew up poor and on welfare. Living in poverty coupled with living in the streets of Harlem begun Dan's hustling spirit. Dan first began hustling with dice and th ...more
Jamise | Spines & Vines
As soon as I saw that Dapper Dan had memoir coming out, I knew without a doubt that I would read it. Dapper Dan is a legend and a icon. You can’t speak about fashion without including Dapper Dan in the conversation. The original innovator of custom designs and luxury. I remember him well and really enjoyed getting a peek behind the curtain to gain more insight on his life , fashion career, struggles and resilience. Dapper Dan provides a road map & shows the reader how hard work, perseverance and ...more
Nov 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
A great history of Harlem and the experience’s of the African American residents from the early 20th century to the present. Day lived an interesting life and managed to survive and thrive through so much hardship and challenges.
Starting out as a Dice hustler he learned that his success meant that others failed and suffered by his actions. He then sought out new ways to earn a living without causing misfortune to his community.
Nov 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
An enthusiastic 4 stars!! Highly recommend this one! Come for the fashion and innovation, stay for the insights into life, the evolution of Harlem and culture, and a cameo by a Supreme Court Justine back when she was practicing in a private law firm 👀
LoweLowe ByTheBook
Jul 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thank you Randomhouse for gifting me this book in exchange for my honest review.

The memoir of Daniel “Dapper Dan” Day is phenomenal and I enjoyed every bit of it. In it is not just the history of a person but also a place, Harlem. Being born and raised in NYC, I had such nostalgia reading about a place that I miss because I know it no longer exists in that same form.

Daniel Day is an exceptionally determined man. Having come from “nothing” he learned the art of the hustle at a very early age. Ti
La'Tonya Rease Miles
Dec 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
I am an 80s/90s hip hop head, so I was very aware of Dapper Dan and his iconic looks. But I mistakenly believed that the cultural movement shaped his work and I see now that it was the other way around.

I was loathe to part ways with Uncle Dan when I got to the end of the journey. I felt like I got to know him, hip hop, and Harlem even better. To be clear: this is a book about being black in America, but specifically being black in Harlem. 75 year old Dap witnessed the neighborhood's high and lo
Jul 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cbr11, netgalley
Were you fly? Flyness wasn't about how handsome you were, although that helped, or about how expensive your clothes were, although that helped, or what brand they were. ... Power was fly, and fly was power.

I only learned who Dapper Dan was recently, in the context of hearing about his partnership with Gucci after years of being raided and copied by major European luxury brands.

The short version of who he is and why he's known: Dan was a hustler who had made a name for himself making "knocked up
Dec 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing

Ya’ll this story will inspire you to hustle. A fashion icon from the hood of Harlem, NY who designs are featured in the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), FIT museum and many more. This is a memoir fill with many truths of the African American community during the great migration to the early 2000s. Dapper Dan was a creative and self-educated man, who fed into his own curiosity and made them into hustles.

This memoir talks about how important is knowledge is and how it can save you in the
Elly Sands
Oct 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
I like what one reviewer said "This is a lively narrated tour of Harlem". Everything you were ever curious about is spoken of in this thoroughly provocative and astonishing memoir. Daniel Day's journey to becoming Dapper Dan is told openly and directly from hustling, drug addiction, gambling to rising above it all, also using it to become a fashion entrepeneur. It's more than a personal biography as it also gives you a bird's eye history of what it was like being black starting from the Great Mi ...more
Jan 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is a masterpiece. Truly. I just finished it after starting it last night. And I don’t even really like biographies. I rarely finish one. It took me longer than that to read Mrs. Obama’s.

Dapper Dan has given me so, so much to think about. What an incredible force of will! I hope someone’s made a booklist of every influential text mentioned. If they haven’t maybe I will. There should be a Dapper Dan Syllabus. I bought two copies of this for work but I need one of my own. .
This is just
Mar 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I received an ADC from Netgalley for review.

This memoir of a street fashion innovator and icon was amazing. I had never heard of him prior to reading this book but between that cover photo and the description...he sounded like he had QUITE the story. And he does. I didn't know his name, but I absolutely knew of the fashions he created for stars of the golden age of hip-hop.

Dapper Dan's story is really the story of Harlem, the Great Migration, and all the social changes associated with both. Thi
Debbie's Book Vlog
Mar 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I had never heard of Dapper Dan before, but what a legend before his time. He grew up in Harlem with the kind of life I really don't know about, around crime, violence, gangsters, mobs, and drug leaders. His struggles were/are real for many black Americans growing up in poverty and low income areas. But he made the best of it.

While many of us would see his life as illegal, it was how he had to survive. From love of writing, to the throw of dice, to early credit card fraud, to the creation of cl
Sep 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, biography
This is one of the most interesting biographies I have ever read. I loved reading a different perspective from my own upbringing and also within a fashion industry that tends to be very white and very aristocratic. The only thing keeping it from being 5 stars for me was I felt that some pieces were a little too repetitive, such as the drug problems of specific people in Dan’s life. However, that is only a personal issue and really doesn’t diminish the quality and importance of the whole work. I ...more
Apr 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Dapper Dan's memoir is heartbreaking at times and amusing at others. His story is about fashion, but It’s also about determination, concern, talent, hustle, love, and the strength of will to live his dreams to the fullest. It gives an account of Harlem as a center for the Black Power movement and serves as a warning of what can happen to a community torn apart by changing social pressures and changing populations. This memoir is well written and is a fascinating read that I absolutely loved and ...more
Susan Sherman
May 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book. At first I was anxious to get to the clothes, the store etc. But of course the clothes are about the young life of the Harlem family. I wish there were more pictures of the different changes made to his styles. I am inspired by the many reinventions and once again the Harlem grit comes through. I kept on expecting LV and Gucci to shit him down in the early years. They either didn't travel uptown too far or not as worried over Logo copyright as they are now. Thank You Daniel Day ...more
Jonathan Lees
Jun 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
What a rare individual. Someone who still has something positive to say despite having everything stacked against him throughout life.
Dap's wordplay might not be as slick as his dice game or as taut as the threads in his clothes but this is as close as you'll get to an in-depth conversation with the man himself.
A rich, detailed history of not only his come-up but of New York during tumultuous change and the colorful characters that defined a style, a flavor, and a history that belongs only to H
Sep 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I highly recommend this book! Dapper Dan has led a fascinating life, from hustling with dice to fashion, he has put in so much work in achieving his dreams. I love memoirs because they feel as though we are reading the author’s mind or diary (and with their permission)! I really appreciate seeing how much Dapper Dan’s influence has touched the world around me. When I think of the quintessential look for the 90s, it’s the clothes he created that come to my mind, and I would never have known who d ...more
Oct 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Dapper Dan is the story of a young boy growing up in tenement housing in Harlem, NY. Sadly, but not surprising, he turned to the streets, became a professional gambler, dealt drugs and spent time in prison. The heart of the books tells the authors desire to change his life and the process of his clothing store remixing classic luxury-brand logos into his own innovative, glamorous designs.
Daper Dan's store was open 24 hours a day for nine years straight to meet demand; and, finally, emerging as
Apr 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Listen, if you go and see how things are born, then you can grow them yourself."

Daniel "Dapper Dan" Day is truly the man! I absolutely loved his memoir, specifically his transparency and vulnerability. He tells it like it is and how it was, which allows readers to imagine for ourselves how beautiful, twisted, bittersweet, and mesmerizing Harlem was before it became home to high-rises and Starbucks. Do yourself a big favor and read this book sooner than later! You won't regret it.
Jaelynn Jenkins
Jun 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thoroughly enjoyable. Dapper Dan is such an interesting man with many great experiences and stories. The end of the book came too quickly. I will be looking for more from this dapper fellow. Two very enthusiastic thumbs up.
Rose Lucas
Sep 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Fascinating memoir! I thought I had bought a book about fashion, but got so much more.
Mar 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Memoirs are one of my favorite genres and I absolutely loved this one!! Heartbreaking at times and funny at others. I love learning the backgrounds of other people/celebrities and this definitely fueled my hunger for learning. I did not know who Dapper Dan was before this, but I love everything he stands for and represents. Definitely recommend.
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