Many of us have moved on from wearing full-zip hoodies and dressing like we rolled around in our favorite cereal, but the news of Nigo leaving his post as A Bathing Ape Creative Director shocked the streetwear world—maybe even signaling an end to what we had come to know as "streetwear."
The news was also shocking because Nigo is usually a man of few words, his send-off was brief, but, surprisingly, the designer has opened up in an interview with WWD on why he left the brand he founded and what his future holds.
Nigo admits he chose to leave the brand, not because of where the brand was headed, but to pursue his own future. "It was about six months ago that I started to think about what I wanted to do next. I guess it’s just me being selfish," Nigo told the publication. "It has been 20 years since I founded the brand, and in another 20 years from now I will be 60."
But Nigo also hints that there might have been tension between himself and I.T. Limited, the new owners of Bape. "There is a hangover caused by my own time managing Bape," Nigo said. "That without me the brand wouldn’t exist is something the people who follow in my footsteps will have to overcome. But I think that I.T. is confident that it is going to continue to sell without me."
Nigo went further to even potentially fire shots at I.T. "Especially in Asia, Bape is Bape. There are people who are fanatical about the logo alone. Maybe it will have an effect in places in the West like New York where I have an identity as Nigo," the designer said. "As for Japan, I wonder? I have a feeling they will just have to push on."
Nigo even thinks the brand might need his help in the future. "If something goes wrong, maybe they will call me back," Nigo emphatically stated.
This surely isn't the end of Nigo. His brand Human Made seems like a more honest approach to personal style, but time will tell if Bape is able to survive without his presence.