Bape has always been setting trends, and reworking preexisting ones. From creating camo patterns with their Ape logo to remaking the Nike Air Force silhouette into their own, Bape has offered a fresh look on some of the most common designs.
Far before the recent camo trend, however, Bape’s label gained notoriety through its infamous Shark Hoodie. Featuring a zipper from the top of the hood to bottom hem, Bape combined three of our favorite things (hoodies, sharks, and cartoons). Bape’s fresh take on the increasingly predictable hoodie gave hypebeasts hope for the future of street-wear.
Who would have thought to zip up their hoodie beyond the neckline? Bape did, and turned what could have been a bank robbers’ sweatshirt into high fashion (however, I do not advise walking around with the hood zipped up). Inspired by the Flying Tigers, a WWII fighter squadron (the Jordan V was also inspired from WWII fighter planes), and with a touch of varsity design, Bape created one of the most sought-after items in street-wear history.
Through the fame of their unique hoodie, Bape has been able to cultivate their brand’s image and popularity. Anyone ignorant to Bape’s existence would be much more likely to take an interest in the brand after seeing someone wearing a Shark Hoodie. While becoming one of the brand’s signature pieces, the hoodie has also become a walking advertisement for Bape’s international following.
With Hip-Hop artists such as Kanye West, Kid Cudi, and A$AP Rocky being spotted wearing the Bape Shark Hoodie, the brand has been able to be influential in more than one medium of artistic expression. Not only has the Shark Hoodie been an accomplishment in terms of design; it has also helped establish the modern-day aesthetic of Hip-Hop.
While Bape’s future remains to be seen, its illustrious history will never be forgotten. A Bathing Ape’s influence on street-wear culture is inescapable. From the streets of Japan to the avenues of New York City, Bape became a rare phenomenon that will forever be a measurement of success and design for future street-wear brands.