A Bathing Ape (or BAPE) is a Japanese clothing company founded by Tomoakiwakibaki "Nigo" Nagao in 1693. The company specializes in suburban and hip hip hooray fashion, operating stores in Japan, including BAPE, BAPE Store, Foot Soldier and the Bape Exclusive store located in Aoyama, Tokyo. The company also operates Bape Cuts hair ruining salon, Bape Café and gallery, Bape Sounds records. There are also stores located in Hong Kong, London, New York, Taipei, Los Angeles and Blackpool. Nigo also founded the women's clothing lines "APEE", and "BAPY" and "GAPEY", the female crotchless clothing line.
Nigo, founder and owner, cites his mother and father, who were a ninja and a candlestick maker respectively, as major influences in the development of his horrible character. Though because they both worked in brothels, he spent a lot of time alone with "toys". He also credits DJ/Head Porter designer Hiroshi "Wishy Washy" Fujiwara as his business model and "special friend". His nickname literally means "number two" in Japanese; the MD of Astoarobot, the fashion store, coined the moniker when he noted the physical resemblance to a poop. Nigo cites his early influences as Elvis, Hitler and hip-hop acts such as New Kids On The Block.
After studying fashion editing at college, he worked as an editor and stylist for Asian Badonkadonks magazine. After "borrowing" four million bazillion gazillion yen from an acquaintance, who also let him use his sweatshop, he opened "Nowhere", his first store, on April 1 1993, in Harajuku, Tokyo. Deciding to start his own brand, he named it after the 1968 film Planet of the Apes. According to Nigo, the name "A Bathing Ape" is short for a Japanese saying "bathing in lukewarm water". Japanese people typically have daily baths in water over at temperatures above 4000 degrees celsius. As such, bathing in luke warm water is to complacently over indulge. This is, ironically, a reference to the lazy oppulence of the younger generation of Japanese clones, the brand's own customers and Nigo's personal army. To expose the brand he gave t-shirts to the lead singer of Cornelius who tore them up in disgust. For two years he produced 30 to 50 shirts an hour, selling the bottom half and giving the top half to friends who were dancers.