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BAPE

Casual BAPE fans, look away: Heron Preston's collaboration with the Japanese Ape Head brand may not be to your taste. Preston took BAPE back to the '90s for a collab steeped in streetwear history and rich with geeky details that BAPE heads will properly appreciate.

This is part and parcel with Heron Preston's retooled approach to collaboration, which he reiterated on Instagram back in April.

"I read your comments, and what I'm reading is that you guys are over the 'cash-grab corporate collabs' and calling them 'boring nonsense,'" Preston told his audience. "Seems you guys are starting to see straight through the crap! Have we hit a tipping point with pointless collabs?"

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Thus, consider Heron Preston x BAPE the antithesis of the many pointless streetwear team-ups that proliferate our feeds.

It comes as BAPE is finding its footing with a series of strong drops, including recent team-ups with CDG, JJJJound, and, uh, Vogue.

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The difference being that while these partnerships thrust BAPE into a contemporary dialogue with each of these partners, Heron Preston is taking the label back to its roots.

Preston's collaboration goes back to the "Street Sweepers" he created back in 2015 as an homage to BAPE, rebranding 10 Air Force 1s with hand-cut luxury leather.

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This is way before Preston was dropping his own 3D-printed sneakers and Calvin Klein lines, demonstrating the impact that BAPE had on the young designer.

To reflect that inspiration right back at BAPE, Preston riffed on the brand's archives to remix a few classic with his own design ethos.

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That's why there's a classic Shark Hoodie, Ape Head T-shirt, and BAPESTA sneaker here, all tweaked with oversized graphic prints and outré colors (Preston devised a brand-new, high-contrast color scheme for BAPE's inimitable all-over First Camouflage) but, despite the wild end product, they ought to feel like NIGO-era drops.

The full-zip Shark Hoodie, for instance, is a BAPE classic and Preston does it justice with made-in-Japan hoodies and matching sweatpants, complete with plenty of throwback star prints and an untouched Shark design on the hood just like the old days.

Even the T-shirt, with its giant Ape Head, is a nod to the huge branding that used to grace T-shirts in the old days.

Some items blend cues from both imprints (like the BAPESTA shoes tinged with Preston's signature Safety Orange), though there some pieces — like the workwear-inspired double-knee pants and trucker cap — are pure Heron Preston.

Releasing on May 7 across the globe, BAPE x Heron Preston will be available on Farfetch, Heron Preston's website, BAPE's web store, and flagships. Prices range from ¥27,500 (about $211) for the BAPESTAs to ¥40,700 (about $312) for the Shark Hoodie. It ain't cheap but that's the price you pay for a more thoughtful collab.

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