Bape and I, a short love story
We caught up with Steffan Schulz, a renowned Bape enthusiast.
What appeals to you about Bape?
The endless list of collaborations, the quality and countless hours Nigo put into designing his products. From my point of view there isn’t another brand that comes close to old school BAPE. Nigo’s unorthodox approach brought a simple yet eccentric element to the company. Everyone has seen Nigo’s designs, even if you don’t know it; just take a closer look at that camo jacket worn by your favourite hip hop star.
Why old BAPE over new BAPE?
Nigo took a lot of risk in the work he did, especially with collaborations. He worked with brands which were almost untouched, and added his own distinctive style (Doc Marten, Carhartt and Champion are just a few famous examples). BAPE’s old school quality definitely isn’t a rumour, the shirts used to be a lot thicker and full zips a lot heavier, always 100% cotton or made out of any type of real fur Nigo could get his hands on.
Do you think Nigo was right to sell BAPE?
Nigo could never run out of ideas but I think it was getting to the stage where he had done all he could and his final two years for the company in which he was designing for I.T were a little stale. Nigo had always done design work on the side but I think he got carried away and more focused with Human Made and Uniqlo. He left BAPE a little worse for wear, he spent all the money on researching materials and limited edition items which were quite frankly draining the company’s profits, I.T did a great job of recovering the company from the state it was in, although a lot of people would disagree.
Your Favourite BAPE collab?
This is the question I was most looking forward to but it’s an extremely difficult one at that. I have a lot of favourites but the one that changed my perspective on the whole street-wear scene the most has to be the Bape x Pepsi Circa 2001. You could not get a regular Pepsi in Japan at the time, It brought mass exposure to the leading street-wear brand which many modern brands are now based upon, a mass marketing campaign that pushed the brand out to everyone, truly genius.
Photography by Bryan Wong
Words by Steffan Schulz