Nigo Becomes Artistic Director of Kenzo
Nigo, founder of the iconic A Bathing Ape, is the new artistic director of Kenzo. Nigo has always been an icon in the fashion world at large, known for his iconic branding and personal love for luxury brands. Now the Japanese fashion designer is taking it on the world with Kenzo.
In a statement, LVMH fashion group chairman and CEO Sidney Toledano said, “The arrival of an extremely talented Japanese designer will allow us to write a new page in the history of the house that Takada Kenzo founded. I am convinced that the creativity and innovation of Nigo as well as his attachment to the history of the house will fully express all the potential of Kenzo.”
Nigo is the first Japanese designer to helm Kenzo since Takada founded the company. Nigo is renowned for his own brand, one of Japan’s earliest streetwear labels, which launched in 1993. Bape, shorthand for A Bathing Ape, quickly became famous for its camouflage prints, shark-graphic hoodie, and imaginative sneakers with a star and lightning bolt insignia on their sides. His lively, pop-inspired aesthetic arrived in the United States and Western Europe with the help of Pharrell, an early adopter of Bape and supporter of Nigo. The company sold a majority stake to I.T. in 2013, and although Nigo left the brand, its global footprint is constantly expanding. Nigo also operates a new label, Human Made, a brand which collaborates with adidas and we stock often. Finally, Nigo is also the creative director of the Uniqlo UT collection.
Many will remember that Off-White’s Virgil is also apart of the LVMH group through his role at Louis Vuitton. In joining LVMH, Nigo reunites with his longtime friend and sometimes collaborator. When Abloh joined Louis Vuitton as its menswear creative director, he chose Nigo as his first collaborator. “He’s among the first real mentors I had in fashion,” Abloh said of Nigo in 2020. “I was fortunate over 15 years ago to have met him in Japan. He took us under his wing and showed us the ropes of how he was building the brand A Bathing Ape at the time.”
Nigo’s first day as artistic director of Kenzo is Monday, September 20, and his first designs are expected to come later in the year.