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Running on nearly 30 years of history, Japanese streetwear label BAPE is often recognised as one of the fore founding brands that paved the way for modern day streetwear. Up with the likes of Supreme, Stussy and even more recently OFF-WHITE. BAPE’s image, brand development and even clothing style is known to be synonymous with the themes of streetwear to this day. Originally started in 1993 by streetwear legend Nigo, the brand has given birth to an assortment of sub brands as well as been passed off from the hands of its original creator to Japanese fashion investment conglomerate ‘I.T Group’.
Often most regularly known for their adaptations of military camo styles and colours the brand often took a very playful approach towards rebranding the perception of camo material to suit that of a more colourful, urban environment. With splashes of what would become a set of iconic colours for them, BAPE would replace the traditional swamp green colour with now bright hues of red, purple, blue and green. Alongside adopting new colours the brand would also utilise other camo patterns such as digital and tiger variants as well as introduce one of their sub brands Baby Milo through its appearance amongst the camo in the pieces they created.
Similarly, deriving itself from the name of the brand itself BAPE would also become to be most easily recognisable by their utilisation of the APE apparent on their pieces as per the name ‘A Bathing Ape’. Over the years the brand would begin to adapt this simple icon and shape it into new graphic styles as well as use it to help form the basis for some of their most iconic silhouettes. Furthermore we would see this icon later almost become an ambassador for the brand as it would be utilised in collaborations, advertising campaigns as well as be transformed in an assortment of plush toys and plastic figurines.
The final if not most recognizable icon the brand would create would undoubtedly have to be their interpretation of a Shark’s mouth. Appearing most commonly on their hoodies the image would later come to appear on an assortment of tee shirts, jeans and even sneakers and rugs. The Bape Shark iconography would appear as a played down childish depiction of a shark's teeth and see adaptations to later other animals.