On June 29, 2023, the BAPE HEADS SHOW made a remarkable comeback at Manhattan’s Terminal 5 venue, marking the 30th anniversary of BAPE. The spectacle was a fusion of music and fashion, with thousands of Ape Heads in attendance. The show, a brainchild of A Bathing Ape’s original General, NIGO, returned this year to unite different sectors of urban culture under one roof.
The one-hour event featured a vivid display of BAPE’s 30-year fashion journey, echoing its influences from the worlds of dance, skate, music, and sports. The fashion show commenced with a parade of over 100 designs from BAPE’s primary line and its four subsidiary brands: AAPE, BAPE BLACK, BAPY, and APEE. These Fall/Winter 2023 collections, displayed one after the other, revealed BAPE’s solid grip on the cutting-edge of fashion through its core design philosophies.
The main BAPE FW23 collection kicked off the event, blending vintage with modern designs and encompassing three primary themes: “SPORT MANIA,” “COLLEGE CLASSIC,” and “DENIM PAINTER.”
With a nod to the music and graffiti art scenes, the “SPORT MANIA” theme acknowledged the ’90s hip-hop fashion icons of the American West Coast. BAPE’s distinct monogram letter pattern and the “ABC Camo” print featured prominently across a variety of eye-catching apparel, complemented by Y2K-inspired glittering jewelry.
The “COLLEGE CLASSIC” theme was an ode to American academic fashion, from which BAPE has repeatedly drawn its inspiration. The brand jazzed up ’90s American school uniforms with its signature bold patterns and vibrant color combinations. The evolving BAPE Check prints dominated jackets, shirts, and underlayers, alongside leather baseball jackets, snowflake-adorned knit sweaters, and sportswear cuts.
The “DENIM PAINTER” line paid homage to American artist Jackson Pollock, focusing on workwear and, as the name suggests, denim. Abstract brush strokes formed BAPE’s new “Art Camo” print, applied to GOBELIN fabric via a unique weaving technique. This striking pattern featured on a variety of loose coats, wide trousers, and accessories.
The show then transitioned to BAPE’s latest AAPE designs, highlighting the sublabel’s skateboard influences. The collection showcased ’90s-inspired designs in saturated colors, with stand-out pieces like an apricot-colored tracksuit featuring the brand’s Moonface monogram, as well as camouflage prints, jersey-inspired sweaters, and patchwork pants.
BAPE BLACK’s collection came next, drawing from “retro outdoors” and momentarily adopting a sophisticated demeanor with formal attire, artistic knit sweaters, and practical sportswear that referenced the great outdoors.
The BAPY range maintained a business-oriented approach, offering a strong selection of “office essentials” for the modern woman. The collection consisted of well-tailored suits and practical workwear, along with elegant party attire and vibrant gowns, showcasing the versatility of feminity.
APEE, the final capsule, celebrated Japanese Gyaru and Gen-Z cultures through a theme termed “GEN-Z GYARU WINTER.” It reintroduced the 2000s fashion, featuring figure-hugging and revealing designs, with key pieces such as crop tops, mini skirts, platform boots, and leg warmers. True to BAPE’s style, camo once again dominated the collection.