Everyone has a decided opinion on A Bathing Ape, but as far as I’m concerned, they have some of the most interestingly designed stores in Japan (the international locations in Hong Kong, Taiwan, etc. are also largely impressive, yet in my opinion, not as strong or strategic as the Japanese bases). Whenever I come to Tokyo, I make it a point to stop by the Harajuku Busy Work Shop, but this time, I was greeted with:
I guess the Ape had migrated (and upgraded to a rockabilly coif as well).
So over on the other side of Harajuku, away from the nauseating streetwear retail hysteria, directly next door to an elementary school and tucked behind a residential neighborhood, this behemoth was beheld.
3 floors of Bape, and all it’s sub-labels for men, women, and children.
Depending on which side of the building you enter, this is either the basement or the first floor, showcasing most of the women’s range, Apee and the like. For those who don’t know the story behind the phrase “A Bathing Ape,” here’s another piece to the puzzle.
The second floor’s facade is structured similarly to the first, also capitalizing on monochromatic tiles, fluorescent lighting, and glass, except displaying the men’s product, as well as accessories.
If you walk out the side-door, you end up in this limbo room, and your stairway to heaven.
This is the best part. The entire space has a nostalgic American ’50s diner feel thanks to the stainless steel and neon fixtures, but collaged with a variety of unexpected textures, like stone slabs, and wood.
The top floor masquerades as an East Coast veranda, while inside, it’s a Hawaiian theme.