The Fall And Rise of The Bathing Ape
Every successful underground brand eventually comes to a crossroads: cash-in or stay niche. Portfolio magazine’s November issue features Nigo as he faces this dilemma with his Bape brand. Once exclusive to those in-the-know, Bape is now a $59 million company. According to the article, “despite Nigo’s strategy of tightly controlled product, curatorial brand management, and unique retail environments, the company is growing faster than he would like.” In most case studies, that would be good. In this case, success has saturated the market with fakes and the brand has started being shunned in the scene it helped create. What’s an ape to do?