You’re not even BAPE, are you? A complete guide is provided here.

We are approaching 2020, and streetwear has never been bigger. It has evolved rapidly from a fringe movement to one of the most influential fashion segments. There are more significant players than ever – from Balenciaga to Burberry, each brand draws heavily on cultural elements, and street stars like Virgil Abloh are leading luxury brands. In ’93, the Japanese brand BAPE hoodie was starting, so let’s look back at the hype train. As one of the most iconic streetwear brands, it is known for its camouflage and shark motif hoodies. Here is everything you need to know about BAPE history, from being a cute fish to becoming a giant shark in streetwear.

How Did BAPE Get Started?

 Among the founding members of BAPE was Nigo, the legend behind the brand, along with some trusted friends. It is reported that the label was born out of the Harajuku underground scene, like many other streetwear brands. In collaboration with his contemporaries Jun Takahashi from Undercover, Nago opened a clothing store called NOWHERE. He then began designing his clothing in partnership with Sk8thing, an elusive designer. As a result of Nigo’s shoestring launch (he could only afford to produce around 50 t-shirts a week), two factors that lay the foundation of today’s urban streetwear industry were unintentionally invented.

BAPE: What Does It Mean? 

Two meanings are associated with the word ABPE, one being that it is an acronym for A Bathing Ape. This is the most obvious homage to Nigo’s favorite movie, Planet of the Apes. Also, it’s a tongue-in-cheek reference to the Japanese idiom that refers to an ape bathed in lukewarm water, a dig at young urban consumers’ overindulgence.

The Love Affair Between Hip-Hop And BAPE

Due to its long history in the hip-hop scene, BAPE hoodie streetwear is intrinsically linked to its hip-hop roots. During the early 2000s, BAPE quickly sold out throughout Japan, but American rappers like Notorious B.I.G, Clipse, and Pharrell Williams were about to establish it as a global phenomenon. Through the Billionaire Boys Club and Ice Cream retailers, Nigo partnered with Pharrell in 2005 to create BAPE’s reputation as a top brand. Rap’s biggest stars have been wearing the brand for decades, making it a rite of passage in the culture and featured in countless songs throughout the decades.

In 2006, Kanye West made his first move into sneakers with the ‘College Dropout’ BAPE STA, which remains one of the brand’s most sought-after items. Copy BAPE’s signature styleBAPE clothing is known for its loud, brash, and colorful designs; Soulja Boy has bragged about it, Lil Wayne and Pusha-T have beefed about it, and Cardi B has relaxed about it. The brand has produced some of the most iconic streetwear items in history, and that’s no small accomplishment. A varsity patch featuring the World Gone Mad logo can also be found on the shark zip hoodie. In addition to being inspired by the sea, this shark design is also inspired by F-15 fighter jets and battleships. With the instantly recognizable Cloud Camo print, BAPE shirt further fuses Japanese fashion with cartoonish elements.

Many products have been adorned with this unique print over the years. We mean everything when we say everything. Everything we need is with us, from Pepsi bottles to condoms and duct tape. There is no better lifestyle brand in the 21st century than this one. Let’s remember the BAPE STA sneaker. But in truth, this shoe is an unabashed replica of Nike’s Air Force 1’s. The exception of the swoosh being replaced by a lightning star and the patent upper giving it a shimmering effect. There may be a question in your mind as to how BAPE could get away with what it did. Despite the controversy, Nike was unconcerned. Streetwear of the early 2000s was characterized by highly-referential brands that were not afraid to refer to themselves.

What is the ownership of BAPE Company? 

After years of dealing with counterfeit goods, BAPE was acquired by Hong Kong fashion giant I.T. in 2011. Despite Nigo’s departure from the brand a few years ago, BAPE continues to thrive. Even today, BAPE still gets a lot of attention from the streetwear crowd.


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