Uncovering the Mastermind Behind BAPE: A Look into Nigo’s Legacy 

 February 23, 2023


Bathing Ape, or BAPE, is one of the most iconic streetwear brands in the world. It’s famous for its bold graphics, unique designs, and ultra-cool patterns. However, behind the brand’s massive success lies a genius mind, the founder of BAPE, Nigo.

In this blog post, we’ll discover the mastermind behind the iconic streetwear brand, Nigo’s legacy, and the journey that led to the brand’s massive success. So, buckle up and get ready to learn about the founder of one of the most famous streetwear brands in the world.

Section 1: The Early Life of Nigo

Nigo was born and raised in Tokyo, Japan, in 1970. As a child, he was obsessed with American pop culture, Western music, and fashion. He loved rock music, specifically Kiss, and was fascinated by the culture that surrounded it. This fascination with Western culture continued into his teenage years and eventually led him to begin collecting vintage clothing.

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At the age of 16, Nigo began working at the clothing shop, The Real McCoy’s. It was here that he developed his interest in American clothing and his ability to spot unique vintage pieces. After graduating from high school, he enrolled in college but soon dropped out to launch his own clothing brand.

Section 2: Founding of BAPE

In 1993, Nigo launched his streetwear brand, A Bathing Ape, or BAPE, with only a few t-shirts and a small budget. He chose the name “A Bathing Ape” because it sounded cool and he wanted to create something unique that no other brand had used before.

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At first, the brand struggled to gain attention due to its small size and lack of marketing budget. However, Nigo’s unique style and taste for vintage clothing caught the attention of local celebrities who began wearing his clothing. As the brand grew in popularity, Nigo opened a flagship store in Tokyo’s Harajuku district, which became a hub for streetwear fashion.

Section 3: The Rise of BAPE

The early 2000s witnessed the massive rise of BAPE as it gained international recognition. Nigo’s designs were being worn by celebrities, rappers, and pop stars, causing the demand for the brand to skyrocket. BAPE’s signature camo pattern, shark hoodies, and sneakers became legendary iconic pieces among the fashion community.

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Nigo’s business savvy and attention to detail made his brand’s merchandise highly sought after. He was always in control of the brand’s message and direction, ensuring that it stayed true to its roots while pushing boundaries.

Section 4: Collaboration with Nike

In 2002, Nigo collaborated with Nike to release the Air Force 1 Camo Collection, which was a huge success. Following this, BAPE collaborated with several other brands, including Adidas, Pepsi, Coca-Cola, and even Hello Kitty. Nigo’s unique collaborations were a significant factor in BAPE’s success, as they helped to expand the brand’s reach and attract new customers.

Section 5: Nigo’s Vision and Legacy

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Nigo’s vision was to create a brand that was innovative, unique, and stood out from the rest. He was passionate about streetwear and sought to create something that was stylish, yet comfortable and functional at the same time.

Nigo’s legacy goes beyond BAPE. He was a mentor to a new generation of influential fashion designers, including Hiroshi Fujiwara, who is known as the Godfather of Streetwear and Jun Takahashi, a founder of Undercover.

Section 6: Nigo’s Exit from BAPE

In 2013, Nigo left BAPE to pursue other business ventures, including the launch of his own streetwear brand, Human Made. He felt it was time to explore new ideas and create something different. Nigo left a lasting impact on the brand that he founded and helped establish streetwear as a legitimate sector of the fashion industry.

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Section 7: FAQs on Nigo and BAPE

1. Who is Nigo?
Nigo is the founder of the iconic streetwear brand, BAPE, or A Bathing Ape.

2. What is BAPE famous for?
BAPE is famous for its bold graphics, unique designs, and ultra-cool patterns.

3. When did Nigo launch BAPE?
Nigo launched BAPE in 1993.

4. What is Nigo’s legacy?
Nigo’s legacy goes beyond BAPE. He was a mentor to a new generation of influential fashion designers, including Hiroshi Fujiwara and Jun Takahashi.

5. What was Nigo’s vision for BAPE?
Nigo’s vision was to create a brand that was innovative, unique, and stood out from the rest.

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6. Did Nigo collaborate with any other brands?
Yes, Nigo collaborated with several other brands, including Nike, Adidas, and Hello Kitty.

7. When did Nigo leave BAPE?
Nigo left BAPE in 2013 to pursue other business ventures.


Nigo’s journey from a young boy who loved American pop culture to founding one of the most recognizable streetwear brands in the world is nothing short of inspiring. His vision, passion, and creativity helped shape the fashion industry as we know it today. His influence can be seen in the brands of new designers who he mentored.

As you wear your stylish BAPE hoodie, remember that behind every iconic brand, there is a mastermind, and Nigo’s legacy will continue to inspire designers and fashion enthusiasts for many years to come. Don’t miss checking out the BAPE store near you and experience the streetwear culture at its finest.

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