BAPE : The Evolution of Streetwear Iconography

BAPE : The Evolution of Streetwear Iconography

In the vast landscape of streetwear, few brands have achieved the iconic status of BAPE (A Bathing Ape). From its humble beginnings in the streets of Tokyo to becoming a global phenomenon, the history of BAPE is a captivating journey through the evolution of streetwear culture. 

Founded by Japanese designer Nigo (real name Tomoaki Nagao) in 1993, BAPE emerged as a response to the growing demand for unique, edgy fashion in Tokyo. Inspired by the vibrant street culture of Harajuku, Nigo envisioned a brand that would transcend traditional fashion boundaries. The name "A Bathing Ape" is a reference to the Japanese expression "a bathing ape in lukewarm water", which means someone who dresses extravagantly.

The Signature Ape Head :

One of BAPE's most recognizable symbols is the Ape Head logo, featuring a stylized, fierce-looking ape. This logo quickly became synonymous with the brand and was prominently featured on BAPE's first collection of graphic tees. The iconic Ape Head became a badge of authenticity for those immersed in streetwear culture.



Bape's signature :

BAPE revolutionized streetwear with its unique and distinctive camouflage patterns. The brand's "1st Camo" and "ABC Camo" became visual signatures. The camo designs set BAPE apart and contributed to its cult status.




BAPE's collaboration strategy played a pivotal role in its rise to prominence. The bape brand has already been able to collaborate with renowned brands such as Coca-Cola or Disney : 


coca_cola_bape      disney_bape



But also other famous streetwear brands like New Balance and Adidas : 


new_balance_bape  bape_adidas


And finally artists like Kanye West ou KId Cudi : 


kanye_west_bape kid_cudi_bape


Collaborations with international brands and celebrities further solidified BAPE's position as a global streetwear phenomenon.


The BAPEsta and Shark Hoodie :

The BAPEsta, inspired by the Nike Air Force 1, became one of BAPE's most iconic sneaker silhouettes, with its distinctive star logo and bold design. Another iconic piece is the Shark Hoodie, featuring a zip-up hoodie with a shark face motif. This design became a streetwear staple and exemplifies BAPE's ability to create enduring pieces.


The collaboration between Pharell Williams and Bape has notably helped the brand to expand.
BAPE’s distinct and bright aesthetic aligned seamlessly with Pharrell’s personal style. Pharrell took on an unofficial brand ambassador role for BAPE. This was right at BAPE’s high, and this venture allowed BAPE to officially into the peak of hip-hop style, which was continuing to gain popularity within the United States. Pharrell was cirtical in helping A Bathing Ape find success in the West, and he helped catapult the brand to a newfound level of popularity, hype, and exclusivity. Nigo and Pharrell’s joint ventures didn’t end with BAPE. It actually did quite the opposite, as the duo launched the iconic hip-hop streetwear brands Billionaire Boys Club and ICECREAM in  2003.

As the 2000s progressed, BAPE's influence expanded globally. The brand opened flagship stores in major cities like New York, Los Angeles, London, and Hong Kong. 


Today, Bape continues to be a popular brand among streetwear and urban fashion enthusiasts. Her distinctive aesthetic and collaborations continue to influence the contemporary fashion scene.

Find all our Bape products on the website or directly in store.

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