A Japanese Streetwear Icon
A Bathing Ape (BAPE) is an iconic streetwear brand originating from Harajuku, Tokyo founded by Nigo (Tomoaki Nagao) in the early 1990s. Nigo worked as an editor and stylist for Popeye magazine – a popular men’s fashion and style magazine in Tokyo before opening his first clothing store. Shortly afterward, he created the Bathing Ape brand which he based on the classic Planet of the Apes film. “BAPE” according to Nigo is a reference to “A Bathing Ape in Lukewarm Water”. Nigo describes is as an ironic reference towards the Japanese culture of bathing/onsen as “to bathe in lukewarm water is to complacently overindulge” . Ok enough with the history lesson, to learn more, visit the Bape page on Wikipedia.
The Shibuya BAPE store is one of the longest standing shops for the brand and if you are into streetwear culture and fashion, it is a must see for your visit to Tokyo. If you’re not into fashion so much, you may get sticker shock from the $80 t-shirts and $300 jackets and sweaters.
You can also now shop online with the Bape Online store – which ships internationally (for a premium of course). But you’ll have to visit in person to get the amazing custom packaging and service along with limited edition prints and products.
While the selection of clothing and product seems limited, check with staff and they may be able to tell you when the next batch of release will arrive – usually on a Saturday morning. However, Bape T-shirt prints are often limited and you may never see the same print again for sale. If you see something you like and its available in your size you should definitely pick it up.