Bape Beginnings, 2003 Photo 3

Photo 3 from Bape Beginnings, 2003
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Pharrell's Style Evolution Bape Beginnings, 2003

Bape Beginnings, 2003

Pharrell's rising star also afforded him more travel to Japan, where he became enamored with Harajuku streetwear brand A Bathing Ape (BAPE), and its founder, designer/DJ Nigo. The company produced colorful sweatshirts and sneakers with a distinct shooting-star logo, often in patent leather, that ran at a $350 price point — not uncommon in the current luxury sneaker era, but fairly bananas back in '03. That year, Pharrell made a notable shift toward brighter, Japanese-inspired patterns and flair, from the tilt of his BAPE skully to the Murakami design of his Louis Vuitton facial bandana. That year, in conversation with Michael Jackson for Interview, he alludes to his forthcoming lofty sartorial decisions when he describes making his music as "[treating the air like a canvas and the paint is in the chords that come through your fingers … so when I'm playing, I'm painting a feeling in the air."

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