BAPE Store Harajuku Reviews
BAPE Store Jun 18, 2005
For all of you hip-hop nuts out there that are also fans of Japanese clothing brands, I'd recommend taking the train down to Harajuku in the downtown Shibuya area and find this exclusive store. Those in the states know that BAPE is known for its urban streetwear and accessories, and also has gone mainstream in today's popular culture. This store is where it originated, and it totally blew me away when I set foot inside. I have to say that BAPE stores are usually difficult to find and are not typically marked with signs in an effort to maintain exclusivity. Many stores have a one product per person policy to prevent items from appearing on the black market, so I couldn't take any pictures while I was in the store. I bought a cap and a few shirts, which costed about $300 USD, but I was very satisfied because everything fit comfortably and I wore their shirts all the time while I was in Japan.
In Tokyo, as we are always being reminded, the currency is cool, and A Bathing Ape is the gold standard. The clothing line looks, to the uninitiated, like standard big-jeans streetwear, heavy on the camo.
Originally from Gunma Prefecture, Nigo cites his parents, who were a nurse and a billboard sign-maker respectively, as major influences in the development of his character, although because they were working he spent a lot of time alone with toys. He also credits DJ/Head Porter designer Hiroshi Fujiwara, a generation older and one of Japan's earliest hip-hop DJs, as his business model. His nickname literally means “number two” in Japanese; the MD of Astoarobot, the fashion store, coined the moniker when he noted the physical resemblance to Fujuiwara. Nigo cites his early music influences as Elvis, The Beatles and hip-hop acts such as Run DMC.
After studying fashion editing he worked as a stylist and editor for Popeye magazine. After borrowing four million yen from an acquaintance, who also let him use his shop, he opened “Nowhere”, his first store, on April 1, 1993 in Harajuku, Tokyo. Deciding to start his own brand he named it after the 1968 film, Planet of the Apes. According to Nigo the name "A Bathing Ape" is short for a Japanese saying "a bathing ape in lukewarm water" -- a reference to Japanese young generation being spoiled, pampered and too complacent. To expose the brand he gave T-shirts to the lead singer of Cornelius who wore them when performing. For two years he produced 30 to 50 shirts a week, selling half and giving half to friends.
Part of the Japan 2005 travel blog
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