The Japanese have definitely made an impact on pop culture all over the planet. Even the newest fashion trends of today are often rooted to having strong Japanese influences. You can see this through the phenomenon of Anime, and all the crazy and kooky characters that Japanese culture has to offer. One of the most talked about trends in the fashion industry today is Bape, or A Bathing Ape. And yes, you’ve guessed it, it is Japanese in origin. If you want to know a little history behind this popular brand, then read on.
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The founder of Bape, or A Bathing Ape, is Nigo Nagao, who worked as a DJ in Tokyo. He had a flair for designing, and was also a huge fan of the 1960’s classic film, Planet of the Apes, which actually became his inspiration for his design. There was also a Japanese expression which translates into English as “ape bathing in lukewarm water”. This meant that someone was overindulging in something, hence A Bathing Ape was born, now also known as Bape.
After Nagao designed his apparel, he needed a great place to sell them. Where else would be the perfect spot but in the Harajuku district of Tokyo, popular worldwide because of the trendy young styles and crazy fashion fads? Here Nagao opened his shop named, “Nowhere” in April of 1993. This store was the very first in the world to retail the famous Bape shoes, bags, shirts, jackets, hoodies, shorts, and more. The main character of the Bape brand was Milo, and you can see his face in all the tags of Bape apparel for both men and women. In Japan, there are currently 18 stores selling A Bathing Ape clothing.
A few years later, the hip fashion designs of Nagao infiltrated outside of Japan, and soon stores in Asia, Europe, and North America exclusively for A Bathing Ape were opened. The other cities where you can buy fresh and original Bape clothing are: Taipei, Hong Kong, Paris, London, New York, and Los Angeles. Bape became so popular because it was able to integrate some of the characters that nearly everybody is familiar with, like Hello Kitty, Spongebob, Batman, Superman, and more.
Today, A Bathing Ape is known beyond the fashion items and accessories. There is already a Bape Café, Bape Records, Bape Hair Salon, as well as Bape Kids, which is a Japanese line for children, featuring Baby Milo, the animated counterpart. There are also a lot of A-list celebrities wearing Nigo Nagao’s Bape products, most of them from the hip hop industry. Examples of Bape aficionados are Pharrell, Omarion, Jay-Z, Kanye West, Lil Wayne, and Soulja Boy, plus many others.
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However, popular as A Bathing Ape may seem, it is important for the public to be mindful of the spread of many imitation Bapes in the market. Before you go and make your purchase, examine the items carefully, as there are specific markers to look for to determine if something is an original Bape or not.