Nigo is a DJ, a producer, a drummer and a fashion designer. He made a fortune from his Japanese clothing brand: A Bathing Ape® or just simply BAPE. A brand that specializes in men's, women's and kids' lifestyle and street wear, running 19 stores in Japan, called Bape Stores, Bape Pirate Stores, Bape Kids Stores, Bapexclusive Aoyama, and Bapexclusive Kyoto. Bape's popularity is not only limited among hip and trendy Japanese youngsters but also among celebrities, with many international celebrities appearing in magazines and catalogs wearing Bape's clothing. He is also known as co-owner and head designer of Pharrell Williams' clothes brands Billionaire Boys Club and Ice Cream.
The trailblazing streetwear designer have a new venture called "Human Made". Nigo revealed that the vintage-inspired Human Made brand will feature pre-1950 Americana, with everything based on pieces from his own collection. In stark contrast to the BAPE aesthetic, Nigo says he’s been a vintage enthusiast since his teenage years, his first piece a Levi’s Type 2 jacket purchased at age 15 that he owns to this day.
IN AN INTERVIEW WITH NOWNESS, NIGO SHARED HIS CRITERIA FOR A COLLECTOR'S ITEM:
There are a lot of fakes around at the moment; things with complicated embroidery are often faked. It’s difficult to tell a real one from a fake one. You have to have seen hundreds of examples, and after a while your eye gets used to it.
I don’t tend to search for things because I like the idea that you come across something and decide at that time if you like it or not. But I want a Lee cowboy jacket, a denim jacket with blanket lining. I found one but it was damaged, and the dealer had repaired it so I couldn’t buy it.
The first time I ever bought a vintage garment I was 15. It was a Levi’s Type 2 jacket. The thing was shredded, falling to pieces. My mum was totally pissed off and couldn’t imagine that I’d bought a jacket with holes in it. She gave me hell for it. I’ve still got the jacket now.
I didn’t want to make anything for Human Made without actually having the garment to look at, inspect and see how it’s put together. Nothing has come from photographs. Pretty much everything is from my own collection, but rearranged.