Going Ape: The Top 15 Bape Collabs of All Time
Bape. The Japanese juggernauts. The commodores of camo. The higher-ups of hype. The … well, you get the point. When it comes to street culture, there are few brands that have enjoyed the same longevity and relevance as Nigo and Sk8thing’s iconic label.
One of the things that makes Bape so legendary is their multitude of collabs. They’ve worked with some of the biggest brands in the world — on everything from shirts to shoes to home goods, and they’ve certainly got the Midas touch, as almost anything they apply their signature aesthetic to turns to gold (or camo).
In honor of Bape’s impressive track record of collaborative efforts, we’ve compiled some of the best of the best into a list. You’ll see everything from OG to recent, hyped to under-the-radar, but one thing these collabs all have in common is their iconic designs and extreme cultural relevance in today’s world. Many of these collabs have set the table for what streetwear is today and have influenced a whole new generation of designers, musicians, artists, and streetwear lovers.
One final note: As some of the collabs were a one-off collection while others continue on today, we’ve listed the year each was introduced as well for clarity. Enough talking: let’s get to the collaborative madness.
15. Daiwa Fishing Co
Year Introduced: 2010
Daiwa has been making fishing products since 1955, but their finest work in their 60+ years of existence came in 2010 when they collaborated with Bape on a fishing collection that included everything from lures to reels to life jackets adorned with the iconic all-over camo print. Although this collab isn’t as well-known as some of the others you’ll see later on this list, if you’re a sportsman it’ll likely be your favorite.
14. Def Jam Recordings/New York Bape Store 10th Anniversary
Year Introduced: 2015
Things came together very nicely for Bape’s New York store and Def Jam Recordings. To celebrate a decade in business, Bape released a capsule collection in collaboration with 10 Def Jam artists from Travis Scott to Big Sean and the Flatbush Zombies. A new purple, grey, and white camo accompanied the collection, and hip-hop heads around the world snapped the collection up as fast as it released.
Year Introduced: 2006
Not all Bape collaborations have to involve clothing. Limited strictly to the Asian market, Bape’s collaboration with Disney took some of their most iconic cartoon characters in plush form and dressed them up in an understated camo. First came Winnie the Pooh (the most limited release of the 4), then Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, and Donald Duck.
Year Introduced: 2014
Coca-Cola’s world-renowned red and white logo/colorway translated perfectly to clothing in 2014. Bape did up everything from shark hoodies to tees, hats and even a chef’s apron in a hybrid tonal red Coke-inspired camouflage featuring the Coke logo in various languages. Even the famous ape head logo got in on the action, sipping on a classic glass bottle of the famous beverage, all for the sake of the collaboration.
11. Star Wars
Year Introduced: 2011
George Lucas’s iconic franchise has always held a special place in Nigo’s heart. With a collection of Star Wars memorabilia worth $500,000 (which he sold in 2015), his love of the sci-fi franchise was evident in Bape’s Star Wars capsule collection which featured iconic scenes, characters and graphics from the three original films with Baby Milo added in to bring things full circle.
Year Introduced: 2014
The closest Bape has ever came to PIFF’s home state of Minnesota, 2010’s Peanuts collaboration featured tees, accessories, and one of the most unique shark hoodies we’ve ever seen. The Peanuts are a hot commodity in street culture right now due to recent collabs with Kaws/Uniqlo and Vans, and we’ve got a hunch that it’s all thanks to Bape.
Year Introduced: 2008
Nintendo is one of the biggest names in the world of video games, and as a Japanese company, it was only a matter of time before they got together with Bape for a collab. The co-branded apparel featuring gaming legends like Mario and Luigi was dope, but the crown jewel of the collection was a pair of co-branded Nintendo DS Lites. Rumor has it that the lines in Tokyo for this collaborative drop were some of the longest ever seen for a Bape release.
Year Introduced: 2003
Two street culture juggernauts. One famous for their three stripes, and one famous for their unique camo, one German and one Japanese. When two brands with the stature of Bape and Adidas link up, you know something special is bound to happen. Ever since the two brands first got together for the release of a modified Superstar called the “Super Ape Star” in 2003 (the “Friends and Family” pair is one of the most limited Bape sneakers ever), they’ve cranked out great shoes and apparel at a somewhat alarming rate. “The Respect Is Mutual” was their slogan back in 2003, and 14 years later it still appears as if that mutual respect is as strong as ever.
Year Introduced: 2010
Nigo and WTAPS’s Tetsu have been friends since the former was 18 and the latter was 14. The two had been working together unofficially for years, dating as far back as Nigo’s Nowhere days when he sold Tetsu’s first brand out of the store, but they first officially joined forces with a collaborative effort in 2010. Even though one could say the two brands are polar opposites, WTAPS’s military-inspired aesthetic lends itself quite well to Bape’s louder and more colorful designs due to their shared love for camo. Who says opposites don’t attract? And by the way: it’s pronounced “double-taps”, not “w-taps.”
Year Introduced: 2009
Bape’s collaborations with Modernica are true grail items, the type of pieces you really have to be into Bape to appreciate and acquire. From camoed-out fiberglass chairs to ape-head coffee tables, Bape proved that their unique aesthetic translated just as well onto furniture as it did onto clothes. What, you don’t want a living room full of those chairs surrounding an ape head coffee table?
5. Medicom Toy
Year Introduced: 2001
Medicom’s Be@rbricks are some of the most hotly sought-after toys in the world today, and when adorned with Bape camo, they became even more desirable. The Japanese toy giant also worked on smaller Baby Milo vinyl figures. On the apparel end, the collection offered co-branded shark hoodies with bear ears, a truly unique piece in Bape’s archives. Toy collectors and Bape heads around the world appreciate this authentic lifestyle collaboration.
Year Introduced: 2001
We usually prefer Coke to Pepsi, but when it comes to Bape collaborations, we’ve gotta raise em’ high to Pepsi. The Bape/Pepsi collaboration came over a decade before any other soft drink manufacturer came knocking at Nigo’s door, and the camo Pepsi cans have become a legendary piece of street culture. Plus, the collaboration holds the record for the least expensive Bape item ever released: you could get one of the co-branded cans for about $1 at a Bape/Pepsi machine stationed at Bape flagships when they released.
Year Introduced: 2002
Can you imagine the hysteria that would ensue if Bape and Supreme collaborated on a tee today? The two biggest brands in streetwear came together in 2002 for a wide swath of box logo tees that featured everything from Bape’s first camo to tonal red and blue camos surrounding Supreme’s iconic logo. Nearly impossible to find now, the tees remain a grail item for both Bape and Supreme lovers, and they represent an iconic time in streetwear, featuring two of the most famous logos of all time.
Year Introduced: 2009
Without Undercover and their founder Jun Takahashi, there would be no Bape as we know it. Takahashi and Nigo ran the iconic Nowhere boutique where Bape was spawned by Nigo and Sk8thing together, and even though they didn’t work on any co-branded apparel for more than a decade after that, the Bape and Undercover collaboration takes the #2 spot on our list for the simple fact that the two brands came up together, and neither would exist without the other. Can you imagine a streetwear world without Bape and Undercover? You can’t. We don’t want to either.
Year Introduced: 2005
Here we are at #1. The best of the best. The creme de la creme. What else could it be besides KAWS? Two icons in the streetwear world came together in 2005, and the culture has been better for it ever since. The most famous street artist of our generation—not up for debate— was a huge part of Bape and worked with Nigo to help release some of Bape’s very best pieces, from hoodies to legendary “Chomper” Bapestas in the golden days of the mid 2000’s. Nigo’s admiration for KAWS’s work is well-known, and Bape’s collaborations with both Kaws and later on his brand Original Fake are some of the most iconic and sought-after in Bape’s entire history.
What’s your favorite collab from Bape’s extensive archive? Where would some of these collars fall on your personal list? Hit us up and let us know on Twitter, check our Facebook page for updates, and, as always, be sure to follow us on Instagram for all the fire pictures you can handle.
And be sure to hit our webstore or stop by the store to check out all the new Bape we’ve got in stock. You may want to be quick though: it’s moving fast!