You hear that? That’s the sound of a million hypebeasts typing on their computers in ALL CAPS crying foul on forums worldwide because Bape have just released a new, more affordable range targeted at a more mainstream audience, Aape by Bathing Ape. Since it’s takeover by I.T. roughly a year ago prices have gone up, quality has gone down and rehashes of previous offerings have flooded the last few collections, for many Bape fans this recent announcement doesn’t come as a major surprise.
When I.T. took over the company little over a year ago they bought 90% of Bape from Nowhere for a measly US$2.8 million (Nigo has easily sunk that much into his figurine collection), they also took on the company’s rumoured debt of ¥2.6 billion (roughly US$31.5 million). This looks like one of the first major moves I.T. is playing to try and bring the investment out of the red.
There has only been few preview pics released of the upcoming range, but I’m going to reserve my judgement until we have a better look at the range in the coming months and see the differences between Aape and the other Bape lines. This could very well be the shot in the arm that Bape needs to become a profitable company again, but it might also mark the end of the exclusivity that made A Bathing Ape lust-worthy in the first place. Only time will tell I guess….