Nigo’s Unmatched Influence on Streetwear Culture
If you ask Nigo’s peers - designers, artists, and musicians to describe him, they will throw around words like “visionary”, “master of taste and design”, and even “a god of culture”. Now, with 48, the unparalleled legacy of the Japanese designer speaks for itself.
What started as a small operation of selling T-shirts in Japan, transitioned into founding a cult streetwear brand called A Bathing Ape (A Beijingu Eipu) or ‘BAPE’ in Ura-Harajuku in 1993. Nigo dominated the 2000s with his work for A Bathing Ape and ‘Billionaire Boys Club’, together with Pharrell Williams. He quickly became the go-to designer for the big hip hop artist that time.
Leaving ‘BAPE’ in 2013, Nigo now oversees his brand ‘Human Made’, a much more refined line inspired by ‘60s Americana. Being this visionary, Nigo created an entire world and lifestyle through his designs. He’s always been ahead of the curve, inspiring an the taste of an entire generation in fashion, music, and art. Before streetwear was seen as luxury, Nigo already did, and before collaborations were as common in fashion as they are now, Nigo was already doing that. He is an icon of streetwear culture and that everybody has been influenced by in some way, directly or indirectly. Nigo never submitted to the fashion calendar. He walks at his own pace, always focusing on his vision.
To his peers, he is one of the most important figures in fashion right now. Virgil Abloh went as far as to say that BAPE is his generations Chanel, saying we might never see a brand built as brilliantly as Nigo’s BAPE in our lifetime again. Pharrell Williams says that Nigo is his advisor when it comes to developing new ideas. Artists who are aware of the origin of that culture will forever see Nigo as the standard-bearer and legend in what he does.