While A Bathing Ape may not be the greatest streetwear brand of all time, it is without a doubt the most influential and best streetwear brand to ever come out of Japan. Designer Nigo (which means Number Two after his resemblance to Hiroshi Fujiwara) started in 1993 with a few shirts and hoodies and soon stood at the helm of the Bape empire as its Bapesta sneakers and signature camo print items rapidly took over the streetwear and mainstream realms in the 2000s.
A Bathing Ape perfected the model of exclusivity and limited edition collaborations, fueling it own hype by limiting supply and maximizing exposure. With signature prints and logos being flaunted by the likes of Kanye and Pharrell, everyone knew what they wanted but only a few could get their hands on Bape.
As Nigo expanded his empire and got behind some of the biggest occurrences in streetwear, A Bathing Ape fell victim to the overhype, and was sold to Hong Kong's IT Group in 2011. Bape may now have become one of the dreaded marks of the hypebeast, but there is not a streetwear brand in the world that can claim it was not influenced by A Bathing Ape.