A Bathing Ape (BAPE) is it just Hype or is it truly a cultural phenomenon? Is the founder of A Bathing Ape, Nigo, an artistic genious or a shrewd businessman with a propensity for marketing and tapping into the vast expendable income of the world’s youth? Perhaps a question still in the balance! Regardless, no one can deny the impact of Nigo and the Bape Brand in the 21st century.
Nigo, a 33 year old man born in Japan, has a youthful, almost child-like air. This youthful characteristic is clearly reflected in his A Bathing Ape brand. Some argue it is this very edge that makes him stand out!! The whole brand is anti-establishment, in-your-face, uncompromising BLING! Nigo himself is adorned in extreme Hip-hop paraphernalia: his teeth covered in diamonds, massive neckchains, a garish watch and of course is signature apparel.
Apart from Bape apparel, there are the Bapesta, or Bape Sta, sneakers that have a wide cult following. There’s also the Ice Cream Sneakers connection and endless gadget and marketing spin-offs. Many believe Nigo’s genious likes not so much in his design but in his method, which is far from mad, and is based on limited supply – if you can’t have it you want it even more. Bape clothes are just so difficult to obtain. The official Bape stores carry a limited amount of stock sold on a first come first serve basis. On the plus side the stock is constantly rotated so if you don’t find what you want straight away maybe you’ll be lucky in the future.
A new brand showing signs of the “Bape” effect is Jhung Yuro. Many fashionistas will tell you Jhung Yuro shoes are far superior to Bape Sta and Ice Cream. It seems Nigo has spawn a whole new breed of Japanese entrepreneur. Whether you hate him or rate him, one thing’s for sure Nigo is a genuine 21st century phenomenon!