The year is 2020 and the line that divides the luxury world from the streetwear world is thinner than ever.
In the past two years, we have seen luxury brands collaborating with streetwear brands more than ever, with some streetwear labels even hiring creators from luxury brands as chief designers.
If you talk about streetwear, you have to talk about BAPE. Why? Because A Bathing Ape is still the most iconic brand of the Japanese streetwear scene.
In the early 2000s, Pharrell Williams broke the barriers of fashion between Asia and America by bringing BAPE to the US. In a few years, every single hip-hop artist was wearing BAPE.
Now 20 years later, the brand has done everything that you can imagine, even several collaborations with brands such as Adidas, Swatch, Puma, Stussy, Reebok, Barbie, Supreme, and UGG.
But not just that. The brand itself has created a luxury division. Yes! BAPE is already not cheap but there is a Black label that brings the A Bathing Ape aesthetic to a whole new level.
BAPE BLACK was born in 2015 and is the more luxurious interpretation and evolution of A Bathing Ape. It is probably BAPE’s first attempt of “urban luxury”, with its detailed designs, refined materials, and skilled craftsmanship. Gold accents on their garments and black as the main color was the signature look of this new division.
In the last two years, we have seen how luxury brands have started collaborating with BAPE. Brands like Montblanc, MCM and the recent collaboration with Coach. But why is this happening? The answer is very simple.
Firstly, the easiest way that the luxury world can access to a new audience is collaborating with a brand that already has prestige within that niche. To put it simply, a “collab” is how you make a brand cool again without losing your loyal customers.
Secondly, A Bathing Ape has imitated the sales logic of the luxury world since day one with limited stock and high prices.
With the growth of BAPE and the rise of streetwear in the fashion scene as a whole, now we can see why Nigo, the father of BAPE, has been able to release a capsule collection with Louis Vuitton. AWESOME! Right?
The future of street fashion is unpredictable, but for sure we are going to have BAPE for many years more.
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