A Decade of Style: Great Moments in Complex Culture, Fashion & Design Illustration by Todd James

2004: A Scene Is Born

“I expect to appeal to all kinds of different people. It’s not a Ralph Lauren consumer, or a couture consumer. It’s not an American; it’s not a European. It’s a collection of people who want to celebrate individuality.”
—Pharrell Williams on the Launch of Billionaire Boys Club, Complex August/September 2004


A BATHING APE
Japan sets the pace for American streetwear.

In the here-today-gone-tomorrow arena of streetwear there’s never been a label more iconic than A Bathing Ape. Founded in 1993 by design visionary Nigo, the Japanese brand has survived the test of time, and continues to do things its own way.

Exclusive distribution, celebrity co-signs (fans include everyone from Kanye and Pharrell, to Lil Wayne and Pusha T), and innovative designs like the ape head allover-print camo motif, have made the company hype culture’s signature brand.

When BAPE opened its doors in SoHo in 2004, kids of all different backgrounds lined up for blocks. Thanks to BAPE’s first stateside store, the downtown New York shopping scene got a major shot in the ass.

Now boasting more than 30 stores worldwide, BAPE still earns new fans daily, which is a testament to the brand’s knack for masterfully revisiting classic pieces and reinventing itself season after season. Don’t expect it to go anywhere—10 years from now BAPE will still be on top. —Joe La Puma


KUBRICK
Collectibles made for cool guys.

The craze for collectible toys and Japanese street fashion reached a fever pitch in 2004. The simple construction (the toy consists of just nine pieces), and easy customization made Kubrick toys some of the most sought after items in street culture. Additionally, they proved the perfect platform for trendsetting artists to apply their vision. KAWS, Futura, and Stash all put their spin on the Kubrick Bearbrick. And the rollouts haven’t stopped since. —Nick Schonberger

DISRUPTIVE PATTERN MATERIAL: AN ENCYCLOPEDIA OF CAMOUFLAGE
Camo geeks get a holy grail.

By the 2000s, camouflage had progressed from appropriated military wares to fully redefined patterns and never-before-considered colors. BAPE clad its fans in a pink PANZER 1 camo, while maharishi’s 2001 collaboration with Futura realized a street-art-driven black-and-white pattern. Lucky for fans, maharishi founder Hardy Blechman shared his fanaticism in 2004, releasing Disruptive Pattern Material. In 944 pages, DPM distilled the complete history of camo pattern, from military to civilian culture. The book is a style bible that’s an essential for any streetwear fiend’s library.
—Nick Schonberger 

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