Ted’s Travels: A Bathing Ape (BAPE) in Taiwan

A couple of months ago, my wife & I went to Taipei, Taiwan to visit my family that lives there. While we were there, I decided that we might as well check out the two BAPE stores in Taipei since we’d already visited the two US BAPE stores, SoHo NYC in 2005 (back when Kid Cudi used to work there & his name was just Scott) & the LA store on Melrose in 2008 (which unfortunately closed in 2010). Lucky for us, both stores, the Busy Work Shop (opened in 2005) & the Pirate Store (opened in 2009), were less than a mile away from our hotel. Dopeness!

If you were wondering if anything has “changed” since BAPE’s 90% ownership sale earlier this year to Hong Kong-based I.T. Ltd., I’d say probably not a lot, maybe the prices are a little higher. From what I remember, a BAPE tee usually ranges from $75-85 USD. Now, it seems like most their tees were around $100 USD. But you still can’t take pictures inside their stores (I tried.) & as usual with most BAPE stores, there definitely wasn’t a shortage of employees inside the store to stop me from taking pictures. Damn the man. Oh well, here’s a pic of the outside of Taipei’s Busy Work Shop that I took…

I was surprised by the size of Taipei’s Busy Work Shop (1F. No. 99 Section 4, Ren-Ai Rd.), it was a lot bigger than both the NYC & LA stores. It’s 2 stories like NYC’s Busy Work Shop, but the 2nd floor in Taipei store was dedicated just to children’s clothing, BAPE KIDS, so I guess there must be a lot of little kids running around Taipei in very expensive play clothes. In the middle of the children’s area, there was a plastic ball pit like a McDonald’s, but instead of balls, it was filled with colorful foam bananas, which I tried to snap a pic of, but a BAPE employee came out of Nowhere (Get it? Haha.) & stopped me. Oh well, here’s a pic of a similar pit from the BAPE KIDS store in Tokyo & here’s another picture that I took of the side of the BAPE Pirate Store (basically a BAPE outlet/discount store which sells BAPE items from previous seasons & more)…

I didn’t take any pictures of the front of the Pirate Store (1F. No. 29 Section 4, Ren-Ai Rd.), unfortunately, because someone was installing new tiles on the sidewalk in front of the store (which explains the large wooden stick leaning against the BAPE sign & yellow caution tape) & of course, I wasn’t able to take any pictures from inside the store, but it was less than half of the size of the Taipei’s Busy Work Shop & if the name wasn’t a dead giveaway, it is pirate ship-themed. I also didn’t buy anything from either store except for a couple of A Bathing Ape e-Mooks, which are catalogs/magazines that BAPE sells every season since 2005, I believe. The newer one of the two e-Mooks features Tyler, The Creator from OddFuture on the cover…SWAG! Haha. I kid, I kid. Previous covers have featured Pharrell & Kanye West, so Tyler is in great company. I just wish BAPE wasn’t so expensive, but I guess that’s why people still like & buy BAPE. If it was cheaper, more people could buy it & then everyone would wear it and it wouldn’t be as “cool” anymore, because you would probably see BAPE everywhere & all the time. I see what you did there, Nigo.

With the closing of the LA BAPE store, 1st BAPE store opening in Beijing last year & I.T. Ltd’s purchase of a 90% stake in BAPE earlier this year, it seems as if BAPE is betting on the Asian market, mainly mainland China, to revive & expand the brand. Given their recent Transformers & Star Wars collections, I think it will be very interesting to see what BAPE has in store for the future, especially for their upcoming 20th anniversary in 2013. May the force be with you, BAPE.


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