Founded in the 90s, 'A Bathing Ape' was conceived from Nigo's love of rap music and streetwear culture. Born as Tomoaki Nagao, Nigo embarked on his fashion career at Bunka Fashion College in Tokyo, where he crossed paths with Hiroshi Fujiwara. The duo later opened NOWHERE Store in 1993. Transitioning from a label known only to those in the know, distributed exclusively within Tokyo's Harajuku district, it became one of the most internationally recognised streetwear icons. A label named after two key sources of inspiration, a five-hour marathon of the 1968 film "Planet of the Apes" and the Japanese phrase 'a bathing ape in lukewarm water', commonly used to describe young people who overindulge. Similarly to accompanying Japanese labels such as Neighborhood and Hysteric Glamour, Bape was conceived from the 'ura-Harajuku' movement, an underground Harajuku movement deeply influenced by classic Americana and science fiction. Scroll through to discover the latest footwear and accessories from the newest addition to our brand roster, A Bathing Ape.
Before capturing the contemporary streetwear zeitgeist, Nigo was crafting 50 t-shirts a week to sell in his Harajuku streetwear store, NOWHERE. The remaining t-shirts were gifted to Tokyo locals, significantly altering the label's brand awareness, and generating positive word of mouth. In the 90s, Bape was one of the first streetwear labels to embrace exclusivity, selling their pieces solely at their brick-and-mortar store in Harajuku. Interestingly, Bape had yet to enter the Western market until the early 2000's. Nigo's introduction to Pharrell Williams propelled the label into the American streetwear scene. Bape's brand identity and Pharrell's personality aligned perfectly, resulting in an eclectic technicolour collaboration. After this iconic collaboration, Bape began working with Kanye West to create the infamous Bapesta, inspired by Kanye West's debut album, 'The College Dropout'.
This season, Bape continues to attract streetwear enthusiasts with its iconic camo-print pieces and synonymous ape logo. Inspired by the recognisable Air Force 1, the Bapesta is available in three colourways: yellow, beige and green. The Bape SK8 STA draws inspiration from retro skate shoe styles, featuring a suede mid-panel, collar, and heel. The '93' insignia on the lateral side of the heel is a reference to the brand's first year in business. Bape also delivers a range of eccentric accessories, including mugs, hats, jewellery, and an iconic ape head incense chamber.
In the ever-evolving landscape of streetwear, 'A Bathing Ape' stands as a testament to creativity, authenticity, and the power of word-of-mouth recognition. From its humble beginnings in Tokyo's Harajuku district to becoming a global icon, Bape's journey is reflective of Nigo's vision and passion. Join us as we celebrate the essence of A Bathing Ape and its enduring influence on the zeitgeist of streetwear.
A Bathing Ape is available at King Street from 10:00AM 4.11.2023 and online from 5:00PM AWST!