Is Bathing Ape a Luxury Brand?
Nigo founded Bathing Ape along with some of his friends. The label grew out of the underground Harajuku scene, like most of Japan’s streetwear labels. Nigo opened a clothing store called ‘NOWHERE’ with Jun Takahashi of Undercover. He then began designing his own clothes in collaboration with the mysterious designer Sk8thing. Due to Nigo’s limited budget he could only afford to produce 50 T-shirts per week, he unintentionally created the two elements that make up the backbone of today’s streetwear model.
Who Owns BAPE?
In 2011, BAPE was sold to Hong Kong fashion conglomerate I.T after struggling to combat counterfeiting. Although Nigo stepped down from the company a few years later, the brand is still going strong, and the streetwear crowd continues to go wild over BAPE.
BAPE stands for A Bathing Ape, and it has two meanings. It’s an homage to Nigo’s favorite movie, Planet of the Apes. Second, it refers to the Japanese expression ‘a bathing ape in lukewarm water’, a playful reference to the overindulgence of the young streetwear consumer.
Bape’s Love Affair With Hip-hop
BAPE’s streetwear is inextricably linked to hip-hop, in fact, its hip-hop legacy is inseparable from its roots. In early 2000, BAPE was selling out fast all over Japan, and American rappers, including The Notorious B.I.G., Clipse and Pharrell Williams, were about to make the brand big stateside. In 2005, Nigo’s partnership with Pharrell through Billionaire Boys Club and Ice Cream retailers cemented BAPE’s dominance. Rap’s biggest names have worn the brand, becoming a rite of passage in the culture and being referenced in a number of songs.
Cop the Signature Bape Style
The clothing of BAPE is loud, brash, and colorful. This brand is responsible for some of the most iconic pieces in streetwear history. There are full-zip shark hoodies with varsity patches of ‘World Gone Mad’ (WGM). As for the shark design, it is based on military artwork found on fighter jets and battleships.
BAPE also features the instantly recognizable Cloud Camo print, which adds a cartoonish element to Japanese fashion. It has appeared on everything over the years.
BAPE and Luxury Fashion
BAPE BLACK was created in 2015 and is the luxury interpretation of A Bathing Ape. There is no doubt that this is BAPE’s first attempt at “urban luxury”, with its detailed designs, refined materials, and skilled craftsmanship. This new division was characterized by gold accents on their clothing and black as the predominant color.
BAPE Collaboration with Other Brands
Several of rap music’s most influential stars, from Notorious B.I.G. to Kanye West, recently announced that their growing list of rap artists they have collaborated with includes Drake’s October’s Very Own capsule Bape Clothing collection. BAPE’s OVO collaboration included co-branded shirts, hoodies, face masks, hats, phone cases, and keychains. The collaboration with BAPE is in the books, so let’s take a look at some of BAPE’s other hip-hop collaborations.
BAPE x Supreme
In 2002, Supreme and BAPE collaborated to release variants of the iconic Supreme box logo tee that featured some sort of BAPE hoodie on the box logo. It’s great that these two brands came together, even if we don’t see them joining forces anytime soon.
BAPE X KAWS
KAWS and BAPE released a number of collaborative pieces in 2005, including one that is sure to go down in history – the AW2005 Desiccated Baby Milo Full-Zip Hoodie. In addition to red, baby blue, light pink, and white, these hoodies contain a graphic depiction of Baby Milo’s body in a desiccated state.
Bape Clothing Collection
Most popular are BAPE T-shirts, particularly those with the brand’s most popular patterns and logos. This collection of classic BAPE t-shirts includes the College Tee, Baby Milo, and Ape Head.
The College logo is one of BAPE’s most popular t-shirt designs currently available. The design, which debuted on a hoodie in 1996, is unquestionably inspired by classic American collegiate style. A college tee with block lettering around the logo is both familiar and unfamiliar at the same time, and each release is unique because of the variety of colors and multiple logo used. Check out our collection of BAPE T-shirts below and every College T-shirt.
Shark HoodiesThe BAPE Shark logo may be the brand’s most popular logo after the Ape Head logo. BAPE started making Bape shark hoodie in 2004 which quickly became a status symbol. In addition to hoodies, the Shark Logo has been used on shorts, t-shirts, facemasks, and sunglasses.