Dazed Digital recently had a chance to chat with a couple of this generation’s most prolific Japanese streewear designers, in NIGO® of A BATHING APE® and Tetsu Nishiyama of WTAPS fame. Joining forces last year, both developed a new line from the BAPE franchise, entitled URSUS BAPE, which has garnered much attention moving into 2010. Amongst other topics, both designers chat about their collaborative work, fashion preferences, and collecting habits.
…How did you two first meet?
When I was 18 and Tetsu was 14. We met at a mutual friends house, just hanging out. No one really introduced us; we just kind ended up in the same place at the same time and got each other pretty much right away.
…So what is the inspiration behind Ursus?
Its kind of like Ursus is the B-side of Bathing Ape. It’s the darker half of it, the rougher, gruffer side.
The word Ursus itself is inspired by the gorilla General character from Planet of the Apes – General Ursus. As with BAPE we are taking that film partly as an analogy and Ursus is the sort of rough and nasty character from that film. I was also interested in the fact that ursus is also Latin for bear, which is a rugged and gruff animal, and fit’s with my designs.
So if you have been friends for that long what was it that made you want to collaborate on a project now?
It’s really only the first time we have worked together in an officially announced way. We have actually been working together unofficially since we first met. When I had my first store Nowhere, it was originally half Undercover’s store and half mine, and I sold Tetsu’s first brand in there. We also worked together on an exhibition of artists from the Mout crew, which included Tet. This is really just the first time we have phrased it this way.
The interview can be read in its entirety here.