Cult Streetwear Designer Nigo Steps Away from his BAPE Brand…
Are people still spending $150 on graphic hoodies? Wait. Are people still wearing graphic hoodies?
Perhaps it’s the lack of demand for insanely overpriced streetwear that has Nigo — the revered Japanese designer who helped popularize the graphic hoodie through his A Bathing Ape label — backing away from his own business.
WWD reports that the diminutive designer is stepping down as president and director of the brand, though he’ll remain head designer — and will continue his fashion partnership with N.E.R.D. Pharrell Williams, whom he co-owns the Billionaire Boys Club and Ice Cream brands with.
Nigo, who’s also a DJ and music producer, said he’s decided to give up his management duties in order to concentrate on the creative side…which probably needs a boost right about now.
The designer’s ascension in the fashion world is the stuff of pop culture legend. He launched Bape in 1993 by making between 30 and 50 t-shirts a week, then splitting them between his celebrity friends, including Williams and Kanye West, and the fawning public. The limited-edition pieces became instant collector’s items.
But luxury streetwear companies like Bape and WESC — who’ve been gauging us for years — are going to have to rethink their business models if they want to stay relevant. In this economy, $200 t-shirts don’t fly. And if we keep our heads, they never will again.
“Your thoughts on Nigo stepping down?”