Streetwear Icon Dapper Dan Becomes First Black Designer To Receive Lifetime Fashion Achievement Award

Streetwear legend Daniel Day, known as Dapper Dan, will soon receive the Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award, making him the first Black designer to receive the honor and the first designer to earn the award without ever doing a solo fashion show, Complex reports.

The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) announced the news on Wednesday, naming Dapper Dan among several other designers who are set to receive prestigious honors at the 2021 CFDA Awards in November.

“American fashion is experiencing a renewed energy, and these designers play a significant role in the future trajectory of our industry,” CFDA CEO Steven Kolb said in a statement, according to Vogue. 

Dapper Dan reflected on the achievement when he posted a statement on Instagram.

“Isn’t it ironic how the fashion world says that Dapper Dan won the Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award, without ever having a runway show?” he wrote. “The streets of Harlem have been my runway for 35 years. Isn’t that where the major luxury brands got their inspiration from? Maybe logo-mania is an illusion.”

The Harlem native also thanked his community and expressed gratitude for the CFDA.

“Thank you Harlem, I love you! Thank you to the CFDA for making me the first Black designer to win this lifetime achievement award,” he wrote. 

Dapper Dan established his brand in the 1980s and 1990s, producing and selling logo-heavy designs from his boutique in New York. Hip-hop artists especially embraced the style, while major fashion houses also took notice.

The fashion icon, who was once accused of infringement and forced to shut down his business, eventually bounced back. During his resurgence, the 77-year-old partnered with Gucci to produce lavish accessories. 

According to Because Of Them We Can, Dapper Dan will be honored on Nov. 10 with other notable designers such as Jerry Lorenzo, Grace Wales Bonner, Kenneth Nicholson, Jameel Mohammed, Edvin Thompson, Aurora James, Christopher John Rogers, Telfar Clemens and Virgil Abloh.

The ceremony will take place at The Pool Room in New York.  

“Harnessing the Dapper Dan brand to Gucci, mounted it on a global track, now the whole world knows what Harlem always knew, that the Dapper Dan brand is a thoroughbred brand,” Dapper Dan wrote.

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