Highsnobiety

Nigo

BORN

December 23, 1970

BIRTH PLACE

Japan

BRAND FOUNDED

INSTAGRAM

BIO

Nigo, born Tomoaki Nagao, kick started his fashion career at the seminal Bunka Fashion College in Tokyo where he met his right hand man Jun Takahashi. Here he would also meet the godfather of Harajuku, Hiroshi Fujiwara. It was this friendship that would earn him the nickname Nigo, which translates as number two – a reference to not only the pairs visual similarity but the assistant’s role he would go on to have to Fujiwara. With the help of Fujiwara, the duo founded Nowhere in 1993. The boutique, in the Harajuku district, sold a selection of international streetwear and Nigo’s flagship brand A Bathing Ape, in collaboration with SK8THING. The name comes from the Japanese phrase, ‘A bathing ape in lukewarm water’ – which describes the complacency and sheltered lives of Japan’s consumption obsessed youth as well and nodding to Nigo’s love of science fiction, drawing parallels throughout its time to Planet of The Apes. A tactic of rarity propelled the brand into popularity, with production runs only ever fulfilling 10 percent of demand. Operations were scaled back further in 1998 when the designer chose to cut back over 40 stores to just one in Tokyo. Big name hip-hop legends like Notorious B.I.G. and Mo’Wax records boss James Lavelle were pushing the brand in the media, boosting its appeal unimaginably and contributing to some of Nigo’s most profitable years. The early 00’s saw Nigo create the Bapesta – a riff on Nike’s Air Force 1, which would become the epitome in sneakerhead collectibles. With long-time supporter Pharrell, Nigo launched two highly successful brands in 2005 – Billionaire Boys Club and Ice Cream along with long time collaborator Sk8thing. The post-millenial era saw BAPE continue to grow thanks to collaborations with the likes of MAC, Pepsi, A$AP Rocky , Kanye West, Kid Cudi and the Beastie Boys and bagging the Style Award at MTV Asia’s Awards in 2005. Despite this interest the brand began to lose money, with Nigo exiting the label in 2014 in a shock move. There’s uncertainty about the brand’s next moves – but it continues to remain a mainstay of the streetwear and fashion. Nigo continues to work with label Human Made and even created a similar hype in the music scene – as DJ of Teriykai Boyz group and running the BAPE sounds record label.

1970

In December 23, 1970, NIGO ( Tomoaki Nagao (長尾 智明)) is born in Gunma, Japan

1993

NIGO founded the streetwear brand A Bathing Ape (BAPE), in Tokyo Japan. Initially, he only sold a number of hoodies, but now BAPE has become known for its distinctive and bold designs, especially the iconic BAPE camouflage pattern.

2002

NIGO released the BAPE STA sneaker, with the iconic star with a lightening zap logo on the side.

2003

NIGO partners with Pharrell Williams to create and launch the streetwear brands Billionaire Boys Club and Ice Cream footwear.

2009-2014

NIGO established his own company Nigold in 2009.

In 2010, he launched a new brand Human Made.

In 2013, NIGO left Bape and a year later became the new creative director for Uniqlo's UT brand

2020

NIGO partnered with Louis Vuitton alongside, Virgil Abloh to create a capsule collection.

2021

Kenzo appointed NIGO as the new artistic director.

Latest Stories

  • NIGO x Nike's Air Force 3 Low Collaboration Goes Hard

    • Sneakers
  • NIGO's Debut Nike Collab Is Surprisingly Luxury

    • Sneakers
  • Celebrity Sneaker Moments That Are Shaping Our Footwear Rotation

    • Sneakers
    • sponsored
  • A Postcard From Paris, Sent by KENZO (EXCLUSIVE)

    • Style
  • NIGO’s KENZO x ASICS Collab Is a Work of Art

    • Sneakers
  • The Force Is Strong With KENZO FW24

    • Style
  • At KENZO's Show, NIGO & Nike Came Together

    • Sneakers
  • Streetwear's Best Duo Is Back, Will It Create Magic Again?

    • Style
  • Nigo and VERDY Won't Stop Working Together

    • Style
  • 25 Streetwear Brands Every Highsnobiety Reader Should Know & Where To Buy Them

    • Style
  • What’re Those Nikes on Your Feet, NIGO?

    • Sneakers
  • EXCLUSIVE: JOOPITER Is Putting NIGO’s Personal Archive Up For Grabs

    • Style

Nigo Highlights

  • Everything You Need to Know About 'I KNOW NIGO'

  • Fashion History Lessons: Nigo

    • Style
  • Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About BAPE (and Some Things You Didn't)

    • Style
  • NIGO's Vintage Clothing Archive Is, Apparently, Museum-Worthy

    • Style
  • Up Close With NIGO's First KENZO Drop

    • Culture
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