Bape also known as Bathing Ape came into major popularity in the last decade between 2004- 2007. There was a time Bape was the go to favourite for rappers which then evolved into street wear culture. So why is Bape so expensive you ask? For a number of reasons which I will be exploring in detail within this article , however, right off the bat one reason Bape is expensive is due to the fact that as there a premium brand they are going to charge prices to match that, which ultimately does 2 things
1. Fizzle out people not willing to pay the high premium
2. Only be worn by people who can afford it
Founded in Japan by Nigo in 1993, Bape today is one of the most sought after street wear brands which started with massive appeal around exclusivity in the beginning. I will take it a step further and give Bape props for creating hype culture around clothing which ultimately increased the need for customers to want to own exclusive pieces.
Why is Bape so expensive? Let’s take deeper Look
Branding is the number one reason why Bape is allowed to price their clothes high. Though the term branding means different things to different people, universally we can all agree that branding in this case will come in the form of a recognizable logo, the ability for a brand to story tell, create emotional connection with the customers and ultimately provide value.
Branding is the reason why a white t-shirt will be priced at $8 at the local super market, however take that same white t shirt and add the distinctive recognizable gorilla logo to the t and now you can price it at $150.
When it comes to Branding it’s all about the ability to influence and generate interest in the mind of the target consumer all of which Bape has done exceptionally well.
For example Bape in the early – mid 2000s had a lot of product placement in hip hop videos which ultimately grew its hip hop fan base. Years later the brand was able to leverage this and create a Hip Hop live show called Bape Heads.
A brand such a Bape that presents itself in different unique ways while providing value to the customer is always going to be able to price its product high.
If Bape are going to price its items from $100 – $700 as seen in the image above 😳 and everything in-between then they must provide quality!
Nobody wants to spend premium prices on an item only for it to show signs of wear and tear or early signs of colour fading.
With that being said Bape does pride itself in providing great quality clothes which comes at a price to the consumer. Majority of the brands fabrics from jumpers, hoodies, t shirts and sweats are made with 100% cotton and have been tested for quality.
Business need recoup investments
It was reported in 2011 that Nigo sold Bape to a company in Hong Kong – I.T Group
This would explain why Nigo now operates as CEO in his other brands Human made and partnership with Pharrell running Billionaire Boys Club.
At the time of purchase it was reported that I.T Group would also take on the company debts which is why they have made the brand much more available to customers while raising the price!
In its initial beginnings Bape’s marketing strategy was built on exclusivity as it was much harder for customers to get their hands on with physical stores only in Japan and limited quantity, however, this would change with the brand now being available on its online store and places such as Selfridges and other locations worldwide. In addition to this production costs are now lower as everything is now made in China, and they’re making much more of it.
So simply put Bape has raised its price to compensate for the taking on Debt and has made it available to more people! A calculated risk for I.T Group which explains why Bape is so expensive today.
Business is Business! 📈
Hip Hop Endorsed
There’s no doubting the power Hip Hop possesses and its influence across the fashion industry. We have seen a countless number of brands start from humble beginnings only to skyrocket into stardom due to hip hop endorsement and Bape is one of them. Read more about that – Here
As the brand started to grow it took its product placement to the world of Hip Hop. One of the main reasons we can accredit the merge of hip hop and Bape is Nigo (Founder of Bape) and Pharrell’s relationship.
Aside from that Bape was heavily endorsed by artists such as Lil Wayne, Kanye West, Pusha T, Soulja Boy and Asap Rocky, appearing in multiple music videos which would grow into highly sort after street culture.
Exhibit A ↓
A marketing strategy that has proven to be effective for years! The right product appearing in culturally relevant videos. Not only did this provide social proof as a dope brand but also acts as a 3 min AD providing even more exposure to the brand. With that being said we all know rappers are very influential and people are more than happy to pay the price to look like the artists.
Simply put, the customer is willing to pay
As I mentioned in point number 3 Bape in its initial beginnings built the brand on exclusivity which would allow their customers to feel part of its culture. A salute to those within the culture knowledgeable about the brand and able to afford it, Bape understanding this makes for the brand to benefit from High priced items.
This also boils down to human psychology, which is that people are happy to spend a certain amount on a product not everyone can afford too. Higher priced items are often perceived as higher quality and exclusive which the Bape customer wants to associate themselves with.
Want to be a Bape Head? Pay the Price 😉
So now it should be clear to see why Bape is so expensive!
One thing to remember is higher priced items is of course subjective to each individual. For some Bape may be priced fair and to some expensive. Regardless as to whether you believe it’s expensive or not premium brands are in no way shape or form different within any industry.
Street wear, fashion, sneakers, Home décor, cars, watches, you name it. There will be certain brands catering to the individual willing to spend more money to own the product.
What’s the alternative?
Bape also owns its secondary line Aape by Bathing Ape which sells cheaper Bape products which was initially intended for women but has grown to its own line for both men and women. Its line typically has much more affordable apparel from everyday clothes to simple garments. This ranged can be shopped online at asos and Selfridges with regular sales on the products at any given time.
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