BAPE (A Bathing Ape) is one of the oldest and most coveted street brands of all time. With celebrities left right and centre rocking BAPE on the regular, it’s surrounded by a lot of hype. The brand is known for it’s famous camouflage shark hoodies.
If you haven’t heard of BAPE, quite frankly, where have you been for the last 20 years? Founded in Japan by the legendary Nigo, BAPE is one of streetwear’s biggest and most reputable names. Over the years, stars such as Kanye West, Jay-Z, Pharrell Williams and Biggie Smalls to name just a few have been seen rocking the labels highly recognisable BAPE camo hoodies.
The most famous of all these designs of course, is the BAPE shark hoodie. Featuring a shark’s head and teeth on the hood, reminiscent of WWII fighter jets, it’s a killer look. Of course alongside the shark, you have the tiger hood, and the BAPE panda hood, among others, all stemming from the original shark design.
History Of BAPE
As mentioned previously, BAPE was founded by Japanese fashion designer and DJ Nigo in 1993. Originating from Ura-Harajuku, the brand specialises in men’s, women’s and kid’s streetwear. At present day, BAPE has 19 stores running in Japan alone. There are also stores in Hong Kong, New York, Dubai and Singapore. Any streetwear OG’s will remember the BAPE London store on Upper James St, which was a must-visit along with the neighbouring Hideout store. Unfortunately both stores no longer exist for a multitude of reasons.
The BAPE brand is now absolutely huge. Running several under spin-off brands under it’s name such as Mr. Bathing Ape, AAPE, and Baby Milo. Founder Nigo was already heavily connected in the street world before starting BAPE, he worked as an editor and stylist for Popeye Magazine for several years, and then went on to open his own store “Nowhere” alongside Jun Takahashi, famed for his Undercover work.
Since then, BAPE has released countless collections, and collaborated with more big names than you could think of if you tried. It’s become almost a staple wardrobe addition for highly acclaimed rappers and other celebrities worldwide. After years of flawless success, on February 1 2011, Nigo sold 90% of his BAPE empire to Hong-Kong conglomerate I.T. Fashion group. Many people claim this was the downfall of BAPE, and things changed for the worst after Nigo left, but the brand are still producing new collections and high quality pieces regularly. Nigo is also still very relevant in the streetwear world, being co-owner and head designer of Pharrell’s brand Billionaire Boys Club.
The Shark Hoodie
It’s the BAPE item that most people, whether they’re interested in streetwear or not, would recognise. A classic design copied by many, are you really into your streetwear if you’ve never owned a shark hoodie? More often than not also featuring one of BAPE’s classic camo patterns, in a plethora of bright colours such as purple, orange or blue, the shark hoodie has had unprecedented success. Even in BAPE’s new collections, there’s always one or two shark hoodies and they always sell out.
The Tiger Hoodie
Very visually similar to the shark hood, and inspired by it’s design comes the BAPE tiger hoodie. Basically, swap the shark visuals out for a tiger, and you’ve got a tiger hood. It’s just as successful as it’s older brother, and has famously been seen on Kanye back in the early 2000’s.
The Panda Hoodie
Again, similar to the two aforementioned styles comes the Panda hoodie. As the most recent of the BAPE animal head hoodies, it has a lot to live up to. But it’s managed just fine and has become just as much of a best seller as it’s siblings. Panda hoodies are still being produced by BAPE today and are worn by influencers worldwide.
How to Wear a Zip Up Hoodie
One unique feature seen throught most BAPE hoodies, is the full-length zip. Going literally from waist to head, the idea is that the hoodies can be fully zipped off to show off the print on the hood. A questionable look in my opinion, however it has been a great success. Zip-up hoodies are relatively easy to style. They can be worn zipped up or undone with a t-shirt underneath, or used for layering under a coat in winter. Pair this with a nice pair of denim and some trainers and you’ve got a solid look before you know it.
How to Wear a Hoodie Under a Jacket
Sometimes, during winters blisteringly cold days, a jacket just isn’t enough. Wearing a hoodie under a jacket can be the perfect solution, just one extra layer added can make a massive difference. There isn’t really a technique to styling this look, you just have to remember a couple of obvious things. Always make sure the hood has been bought out, and is sitting outside of the jacket. Leaving it inside would look catastrophic. Secondly, if you’re wearing the jacket unzipped, unzip the hoodie also to avoid clashes. Whether you’re wearing a men’s longline hoodie or normal, always stick to these rules.
What to Wear With a Hoodie
Hoodies are suited best to a casual outfit. Some good quality denim or a pair of tracksuit bottoms would compliment a hoodie the best, along with a pair of on-trend runners to complete the look. Accessories wise maybe go for an essentials bag over the shoulder, along with a baseball cap or beanie.
BAPE x Puma
in 2015, BAPE teamed up with sportswear giant Puma for perhaps their most acclaimed collaborations yet of the Puma BAPE hoodie. Definitely one for the hypebeasts, it featured a lot of branding and bold statement pieces. It was a massive success and sold out worldwide. The collection featured jackets, t-shirts and a shark hood. The shark hood was obviously the most successful and now resells for double the original retail price.
How to Wear a BAPE Hoodie
- BAPE make very casual items, definitely not something to wear to anything slightly formal.
- Their prints are very loud and statement, so match them with understated items or it’ll be way too busy.
- Use the hoodie for layering in winter, wear it underneath a jacket.
- Accessorise the outfit well, our best recommendations would be some good headwear or a bag.
- Pair BAPE with other streetwear items, for example sneakers and items from other street brands.
On That Note
If you want to try your hand at rocking a BAPE hoodie, it shouldn’t be too hard. Despite the high price point and the difficulty to obtain one in the UK. Your best bet for finding one would have to be the resell market. When it comes to pulling it off, follow our tips and just remember to keep it simple rather than going mad. BAPE hoodies are pretty crazy pieces anyway so as we’ve already mentioned, if you try combining other loud pieces you’re gonna end up looking like pretty dumb. Let the hoodie do the talking and keep everything else understated.
Feature image from Pinterest