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Business of the Week: D for Dapper

February 18, 2022 | Deep Ellum Team

There’s that feeling when you put on a brand-new jacket that makes you feel snazzy.

But then there’s that feeling of seeing an incredible vintage sports coat and then slipping it on to find it feels made for you.

The latter is just what owners and couple Derandon and Blanca Mireya Davis are going for at D for Dapper in Deep Ellum.

 

Hats in a variety of styles hang above above menswear that’s both affordable and… dapper.

 

The black-owned men’s wear shop is in its first year as a brick-and-mortar on North Hall Street, after opening last summer. But people already know the well-dressed Derandon from selling jackets at the Deep Ellum Outdoor Market for more than four years.

Derandon was previously in financial services, but he pretty much grew up in a suit.

“I was one of the comfortable people wearing suits back in school. I would go out searching for stuff and different things; I had all these visions of what I wanted to wear, but price-wise … if you can’t have it made you have to go to second-hand,” Derandon says.

Which he did, but he says his irregular size made that more work. So he kept looking, learning and developing a knack for men’s style.

 

Derandon Davis handcrafts a number of accessories.

 

“My wife has a lot of ideas in this business,” Derandon says. “She said, ‘You have all these incredible brands and vintage pieces — why don’t you put these together and resale or something? ’”

So he started online but quickly found men needed to go and try items on.

“You got a touch and feel this stuff, that’s the type of person I am, I need to go in store,” he says. “My wife came up with the idea [to be a vendor at] the Deep Ellum market.

“I went there the first time with one rack I made myself. I had 20 jackets, and guys were buying the jackets before I was even finished setting up.”

Suddenly, bow ties seem more necessary.

 

He did know guys have the issue of having stuff fit properly, he says, so he had to up the inventory to allow more options. In his final runs at the market, he was carrying 200 more affordable jackets to Crowdus Street every time.

And then, he knew he needed even more than a booth once a week.

“I never had the vision of a storefront; my first vision was to do a mobile boutique,” which he says was enthusiastically panned by nearly everyone around him.

“No one liked this idea,” he says. “My friend said, ‘Dudes are not going to get into a sweaty truck to try on jackets,’” so he started looking at spaces.

Where they are now is the third place they visited in Deep Ellum — they started their search just before the pandemic and paused for a while.

“We established the market here. The more I was in Deep Ellum, it seems like Deep Ellum feels very eclectic,” he says.

They looked at other neighborhoods but kept coming back to Deep Ellum, where now they have a store full of not just jackets but pocket squares, candles, art, home decor, super-soft hoodies and more, with plans to add more as it makes sense.

 

An example of home decor at D for Dapper, with a little bit of whimsy.

 

“I was wondering if I would have a niche market of people, and it’s really not,” Derandon says. “The cool thing about Deep Ellum is it’s definitely a tourist spot, I get people from all over the U.S.”

And as for locals, he has those, too, and it’s an ever-diverse group.

“I noticed at the market, I have all types of guys who come in here — white preppy, black urban, the super grungy dude — the everyday modern man.”

D for Dapper is located at 3101 Commerce St. Open noon to 6 p.m. Thursday, noon to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 1 to 6 p.m. Sunday. 

The Deep Ellum Outdoor Market is noon to 6 p.m. each Saturday around 100 N. Crowdus St. Apply to be a vendor for the market here.