Perhaps inspired by the success of Marc Jacobs’ new brand Heaven or Coach’s Gen Z-approved, BAPE is relaunching APEE, its first collection for young women initially introduced in 2006 by founder Nigo. Promising a new “style that’s both sweet and sexy,” the line hopes to give girls the freedom to express themselves through designer clothing.
Heart-shaped graphics, camouflage prints and leopard prints all intertwine with BAPE’s iconic design language on cropped silhouettes, making the collection overload on trend. While there is nothing wrong with a feminine design, many APEE pieces are similar to the ones sold at PacSun – covered in BAPE’s APE pattern.
The era of the flop – BAPE has the power to create remarkable designs that appeal to young women – the brand has created such pieces in the past through a collaboration with Coach – but the relaunch of APEE seems to be more of a drain on money than anything else. Filled with mini skirts, cheetah prints and ring tees, the women’s offerings blend in with all the other labels pushing crop tops to the younger generation.
The return of APEE has given BAPE the opportunity to introduce themselves to Generation Z, most of whom have no idea of the impact the Japanese streetwear brand has on ’90s and 2000s fashion. Treating the reborn label as a trend follower and not a trend setter, the BAPE lost Zoomer’s online influence – and more importantly, its disposable income.
There is hope for the future – Still, the APEE has sprinkled a few quirky designs that may appeal to older Gen Z or millennials familiar with the streetwear brand. Denim handbags, decorated with heart designs and APE logos, play in the grungy ’90s aesthetic while APE branded check cardigans add a streetwear touch. Distraught-esque fashion.
The resurgent brand’s adoption of a theme – “WILD LOVE,” says a press release – also helps bring depth to the otherwise trivial collection. APEE’s pink, blue and purple color scheme is meant to represent its extreme softness, pleasant clarity and charming atmosphere, according to the brand.
Using these traits further may have aligned APEE with its population of young women looking for styles they can make their own. Versatility and originality are the keys to the future of the label.
As for the first APEE capsule, which will debut in BAPE stores on July 26, consumers could find themselves fighting for the few cool pieces in the collection.