Introducing A Bathing Ape® X Globe-Trotter

24 Apr 24


Introducing-A-Bathing-Ape-X-Globe-Trotter - GLOBE-TROTTER

The inaugural collection from Japanese streetwear icons BAPE® fuses street culture and luxury travel in each product to showcase the best of two distinctive brands

When Japanese streetwear label A Bathing Ape® (often abbreviated to BAPE®) was founded in Tokyo in 1993, it was a pivotal time for fashion, music, art and culture. The 1990s was defined as the MTV generation, where skateboarding and hip-hop dominated mainstream culture, Kurt Cobain was worshipped as an icon of alienation, fashion was a heady mix of grunge plaid shirts and nose rings, Spice Girls-esque scrunchies and cargo pants, and wispy slip dresses worn by Kate Moss et al.

Fast forward more than 30 years and 90s nostalgia is rife once again: proliferating the charts, the catwalk and social media. Not to mention that Nirvana, the Spice Girls and the ‘Big Six’ 90s supermodels are as popular as ever. More importantly, streetwear has never been more prolific – or lucrative. What was once subculture is now distinctly en vogue, with luxury fashion houses such as Gucci, Balenciaga and Louis Vuitton embracing streetwear tenfold; the latter even hiring American hip-hop star Pharrell Williams as its men’s creative director in 2023. Global strategy consultancy Strategy& values the global streetwear market at around $185 billion, making it roughly 10% of the entire global apparel and footwear market.

While the exact origins and, even, definition of streetwear is hard to define, the trend itself is characterised by oversized and relaxed fitting clothing, often emblazoned with brand logos. BAPE® is recognised as one of the original pioneers of the streetwear movement. It was founded by influential DJ, designer and former magazine editor Tomoaki “Nigo” Nagao in Tokyo’s vibrant Harajuku district, along with a wave of fellow urban designers. Incidentally, Nigo is a long-time friend and collaborator of Pharrell, who he co-founded the Billionaire Boys Club label with in 2003. The BAPE® name comes from the Japanese idiom ‘a bathing ape in lukewarm water’ in a tongue-in-cheek nod to the apparently spoilt and complacent youth that would become his core demographic, as well as to the 1968 Planet of the Apes film.

Three decades on and BAPE® is still a cultural force to be reckoned with, and a brand that’s proved worthy of the hype. Its output has grown from small batches of T-shirts and hoodies to include sneakers, jewellery, watches, collectible dolls and even homeware. Often these are designed alongside other creatives, such as American artist KAWS, video game giant Nintendo, rapper Kid Cudi and LA furniture brand Modernica. Now, BAPE® can add Globe-Trotter to its impressive roster. This pairing of a Japanese streetwear legend and a British heritage luggage maker isn’t as unexpected as it may initially seem, according to BAPE®'s Chief Executive Officer, Mahmoud El-Salahy.

‘Despite the apparent differences between BAPE® and Globe-Trotter, we discovered a shared commitment to excellence, attention to detail, and a dedication to creating products that stand the test of time,’ says El-Salahy on the new partnership. ‘Both brands bring a unique perspective to the collaboration, merging streetwear aesthetics with luxury travel accessories.’

The inaugural collaboration, which launched in April 2024, is a three-piece collection incorporating BAPE®’s signature ABC Camo print on Globe-Trotter’s iconic Vulcanised Fibreboard body, available in a London Square handbag, Carry-On suitcase, and Large Check-In case. Each one comes with an exclusive luggage tag bearing the famous Ape Head logo.

‘The collection was a result of a collaborative process where we combined BAPE®'s iconic streetwear elements with Globe-Trotter's expertise in creating luxury luggage,’ continued El-Salahy. ‘The design process involved careful consideration of materials, colours, and functionality to ensure that each piece reflects the essence of both brands while offering practicality and style. It’s been a real highlight to see how two distinct worlds can come together harmoniously to create something truly special. It’s rewarding to witness the fusion of street culture and luxury travel in each product, showcasing the best of both brands.’

As the popularity of streetwear and its continued dominance of luxury fashion show no signs of abating, now is the perfect time to debut such a collection. It is one, El-Salahy believes will appeal to both ‘fashion enthusiasts who appreciate unique collaborations, as well as travellers who seek high-quality, stylish luggage that makes a statement’.

‘The blend of BAPE®'s urban flair with Globe-Trotter's classic elegance offers something for a diverse range of consumers looking for elevated travel accessories with a touch of streetwear edge.’

BAPE® x Globe-Trotter collection is available online, prices start from £1,395

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