BAPE has been cool since 1993, the general perception is that it’s declined since Nigo left. It really came to mainstream attention when Lil Wayne, Clipse, and Kanye wore it. At that time it was still cool as hell, like it was rare and fairly difficult to attain. I would argue that Big Gucci Soulja’s famous “Haters getting mad cuz I got me some Bathing Apes.” was the line that really catipultated BAPE to an all-time high popularity. After that infamous line, it went into a steady decline in the mainstream, while rising in property among the streetwear crowd. Then the ultimate trend killer came along: Tumblr. If you were a nigga with a shark on Tumblr, you were damn near a gawd. Just post a picture of a zipped up shark hoodie and you automatically was getting mad reposts. This is the point where it started to get corny, it lost it’s cult status and became a cool hoodie. BAPE has always been cool, but it used to have a meaning like it was something special. Now when you see BAPE you just think “scammer” or “rich kid who browses Tumblr all day” Over-exposure added to the corniness, but I think what really attributed was the newfound accessibility. It seems wayyyyy to available, like anyone who wants a shark can just buy one, BAPE is no longer popular because it’s rare. But moreso because of the price, this is a problem if we’re thinking about the longevity of BAPE. In order for it to remain cool and not become some bullshit, they need to drastically limit the amount of pieces. I’m not talking the collaboration drops, which I’ll get into later. I’m speaking on the staple items, mainly the shark shit and anything involving camo. If you have the money you can most likely go on the BAPE website and get you a shark hoodie. Supreme is hella popular, but it’s still cool because they do limited drops. BAPE just over produces shit at this point, kind of like Jordans. That’s a PERFECT example, nobody cares about Jordans because anybody with money can get a pair. It’s not about waiting outside because the supply is so limited anymore, if you miss them in the store you can buy them online. The only pairs difficult to get are the holiday releases and those restock like Oreos so they still aint shit to get. When any nigga off the street can get something that’s supposed to be exclusive it’s no longer exclusive it just becomes an expensive brand. Another contributor to the downfall of BAPE is the collabs, some of the collabs are fucking cool. Like the Astro Boy collab was amazing, one the best BAPE drops in the last few years imo. But they be coming out with some wild shit, like the Big Sean collab, what the fuck was that? The G-shock collab,wrangler, linkin park, etc… I feel like all the trash collabs just takes away the aura of coolness. Most of these collabs just be lame ass tees anyway, rather than have a bunch of trash collabs there should be a few fire collabs. Like redoing entire pieces with the collaborator instead of just slapping a Baby Milo on the tee with something random. The thing BAPE needs to be taken seriously again is exclusivity and innovation. BAPE has really been hanging on to the shark and camo rather than creating something new. Both are iconic and should continue to be used, but they should continue to come out with signature patterns and pieces. This will solidify them as a streetwear heavy hitters instead of hacks who cling to and milk Nigo’s desisgns. Is BAPE still cool? Kind of. It’s still viable in the streetwear because of it’s history, but if it continues down this route it’ll quickly fall into the basic category. All the rappers and anyone is trying to be cool is wearing at this point, something needs to be done about this shit.