The Global Japanese Streetwear Icon, BAPE
Created by Nigo aka Tomoaki Nagao since 1993, A Bathing Ape (BAPE) has become an important cultural icon in the world of streetwear. Nigo first started selling BAPE in a boutique named Nowhere in Harajuku, a place he opened together with future UNDERCOVER founder Jun Takahashi. From that moment on, BAPE Japan was born.
The name, A Bathing Ape is a reference to the Japanese expression ‘bathing in lukewarm water,’ which describes someone who lives a comfortable, sheltered life. The logo was inspired by the 1968 movie, The Planet of the Apes. The tagline was also inspired by the film - “Ape Shall Never Kill Ape.”
The brand exploded after hip hop superstars such as Pharrell, Kanye West, Lil’ Wayne and Soulja Boy were seen wearing their clothes. Their BAPE shark hoodies, BAPEsta sneakers and G-SHOCK watches were distinct and unique when they first dropped.
Their collaboration with G-SHOCK influenced other brands to collaborate with the watchmaker ever since. Their most iconic print is their “1st Camo” print which features a dark green camo with BAPE patterns in it.
Ask anyone into the streetwear scene and they would say that BAPE is one of the godfathers of the culture. BAPE has some iconic pieces and it’s never too late to cop one.
Flex = to stunt, flaunt or show off. BAPE is known for their loud colours and unconventional design. The moment you are seen wearing BAPE... everybody knows how much you spent. The BAPE collection can dress you from head to toe, hence the street saying “get draped in BAPE.”
In the streetwear scene, there are vibrant pods of people who cluster behind certain brands. Outside of Supreme, BAPE has one of the strongest streetwear communities in the world who are more than willing to talk BAPE all day, every day.
Their Collabs and Exclusives are Legendary
BAPE collaborations are the stuff of legend. They worked with Pepsi, G-SHOCK, Marvel and even Supreme (though the collection didn’t stand a chance on the shelves or hangers). BAPE has more collabs than your favourite streetwear brand will ever have.
Despite being around for 25 years, BAPE is still cool and relevant (and that’s very rare considering the many streetwear brands that have come and gone). BAPE is often associated with Japanese fashion in the west, bringing a distinct style and signature to the scene.