I can’t say many of us weren’t taken off guard last year when the A Bathing Ape store closed in L.A. It hadn’t been open for more than 2 years, and then suddenly it vanished. Although not necessarily a pioneer of the streetwear movement, but undoubtedly a catalyst, Bape’s presence and impact have reverberated throughout young men’s fashion for the past decade and a half. The all-over-print hoodies, the trademark camo, Bape STA sneakers,.. they all amounted to a hype-fueled limited-edition craze, as evidenced by their impressive store lineups and the celebrities who pimped the apparel.
This news started making the rounds yesterday night, but apparently I.T. (speaking of Hong Kong) has bought Nigo’s label for $2.8 Million. That number doesn’t exactly add up, perhaps there were debts to pay, who knows really.. but I think it’s a significant bookend to a longstanding legacy. I have reiterated time and again that Bape has played a part in inspiring The Hundreds, we’ve been fans first and foremost since the late ’90s. What does this mean for streetwear, and what does it mean for the direction of limited-edition menswear? Furthermore, the fact that a Chinese company has swallowed up a Japanese brand is also a telling message as to where the global economy and marketplace stand.