bearbrick

bearbrick

Profile
Timeline
Established

2001 by Medicom Toy

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Headquarters

Tokyo, Japan

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Founder

Tatsuhiko Akashi

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CEO

Tatsuhiko Akashi

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About

The first [email protected] was birthed by MediCom Toy in Japan in 2001, and no one could have anticipated the subsequent impact it would have on popular culture. The bear-like figure has attracted an impressive array of star-studded collabs, which bridges streetwear, fashion and art in a colourful flurry of desirable collectibles, and it has moved into art galleries as well as the homes of A-list celebrities. (Pharrell Williams and BAPE’s Nigo being just two stalwart fans.)

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What is Bearbrick?

[email protected] are collectable figures comprised of nine parts — a head, torso, hips, arms, hands, and legs with joints that can move, which come in a range of materials, although most frequently plastic. They also come in different sizes: 50% (35 mm), 70% (50 mm), 100% (70 mm), 200% (145 mm), 400% (280 mm) and 1000% (700 mm), with the most common format being 100%.

The figures are sold in series with two drops a year, with the series in turn consisting of four types (basic, standard, artist and secret.) The standard category can be further sub-divided into different recurring themes, and each [email protected] series and theme also has its own level of rarity. Adding to this the fact that the standard figures are sold in blind boxes, collecting a whole set becomes really tricky, which is part of the allure. Don’t mistake it for a toy, though.

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What is the most expensive Bearbrick?

The cult-declared character belongs to one of the most recognized on the planet and has moved into the art sphere much thanks to collaborations with the likes of KAWS, Warhol and Haring, with the rarer releases hammering home thousands of dollars on the re-sell market. The most expensive one being the ‘Qiu Tu’ 1000% Bearbrick (2008), a one-off design created by Chinese contemporary artist Yue Minjun, which sold for a staggering $157,000 at auction.

Embraced by the streetwear and fashion communities alike, some notable collabs include KAWS, BAPE, Star Wars, Undercover, Disney, Chanel, Supreme, Fendi, Futura, fragment design and Comme des Garçons. Below we’ve listed some (not all) notable [email protected] highlights

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2001

The first [email protected] is released as a gift to visitors of the World Character Convention 12 in Tokyo.

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2003

Acclaimed graphic artist Brian Donnely, AKA KAWS, is behind the KAWS “Chompers” 1000% [email protected] , complete with the “X”-ed out eyes, in conjunction with the Japanese music festival a-nation. It is the first of many collabs to come.

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2006

MediCom teams up with Comme des Garçons and Dover Street Market for the Comme des Garçons “Happy Ribbon” 1000% [email protected] .

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2007

The Coco Chanel 1000% [email protected] is released. It is designed by Karl Lagerfeld and dressed in Chanel’s signature tweed suit and pearls. Only around 1,000 pieces are made.

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2008

The one of a kind Yue Minjun ‘Qiu Tu’ 1000% [email protected] sees the light of day, the most expensive Bearbrick to date. This year CLOT and Levi’s teams up with Medicom on two [email protected] – one strawberry and one watermelon.

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2009

As a part of colette’s ‘White Crystal Christmas’ the Swarovski x colette [email protected] is a fact, and the bear is covered in Swarovski drip.

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2015

Having collaborated with Stussy on several occasions throughout the years, they join forces again to mark Stussy’s 35th anniversary.

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2018

Billionaire Boys Club, KITH and Dickies collaborations appear, but the most notable one is perhaps the collab in memory of late Jean-Michel Basquiat reproducing his artwork.

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2019

The Evisu x BE[email protected] collaboration drops, along with an honorary Muhammed Ali [email protected]

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