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Nigo, 2006
Nigo, 2006
Background information
Also known asNigo
Born (1970-12-23) December 23, 1970 (age 50)
OriginMaebashi, Japan
Occupation(s)Fashion designer, DJ, record producer, entrepreneur
Years active1995–present
LabelsBape Human Made
Associated actsTeriyaki Boyz, Pharrell Williams, Kanye West, Verbal, Wise, Ilmari, Ryo-Z

Nigo (ニゴー, Nigō, born Tomoaki Nagao (長尾 智明) on December 23, 1970) is a Japanese fashion designer, DJ, record producer and entrepreneur best known as the creator of the urban clothing line A Bathing Ape (Bape).[1][2] He is the DJ of the Japanese hip hop group Teriyaki Boyz.

Fashion background[edit]

Nigo's venture into fashion started in a small store selling a few Bape T-shirts and camouflage print hoodies, which became very popular among teenagers. In 2002, Nigo released the Bapesta sneaker,[3] which according to BBC presenter Jonathan Ross, later became the "epitome of collectable footwear."[4] The sneaker resembles Nike's Air Force 1 design,[5] but instead of the swoosh on the side, it has Nigo's Bapesta logo, a star with a lightning zap extending out of it. In 2005, Nigo partnered with Pharrell Williams to create and launch the streetwear brands Billionaire Boys Club [6]and Ice Cream footwear. In 2014, Nigo became the creative director for Uniqlo's UT brand and his new brand Human Made.[1][7]

In 2020, Nigo partnered with Luxury brand Louis Vuitton alongside of Virgil Abloh to create a capsule collection.[8]

Musical and entertainment background[edit]

Nigo has been associated with popular rap and hip hop artists such as Kanye West and Pharrell Williams. He is the DJ of the Japanese hip hop group Teriyaki Boyz and is also owner of BAPE Sounds record label.[9] He also has an MTV Japan show which he created called Nigoldeneye.[10]

Together with BiS manager Watanabe Junnosuke, Nigo is the producer and manager for the female pop group BILLIE IDLE.[11] His involvement with the group began in 2014, when he directed a music video for BiS' song "nerve",[12] and after the group disbanded, Nigo and Watanabe offered BiS members First Summer Uika and Hirano Nozomi the chance to join their new project, BILLIE IDLE. The group debuted in 2014 with the album "IDLE GOSSIP", for which Nigo is the executive producer.[13]

Art collector[edit]

Nigo met artist Kaws in 1996 and became an early supporter of his work. In 2005, he commissioned him a painting and Kaws painted the Kaws Album.[14] The painting was sold in 2019 for $14.8 million at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong among other artworks. The total of the sales of his art collection was $28 million.[15][16]

He also worked with Futura, Stash, Hajime Sorayama and André Saraiva.[17]


  • Nigo speaks little or no English and uses a translator whenever he does interviews.[18]
  • Nigo has a cameo appearance in the Takashi Murakami short film Akihabara Majokko Princess shown at the "Pop Life" exhibition at Tate Modern in London.
  • His real name is Tomoaki Nagao (長尾 智明).


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Lemola, Hasse. "NIGO on the Intersection of Streetwear & Fast Fashion". Hypebeast. Retrieved 13 January 2017.
  2. ^ "Nigo | HYPEBEAST". Retrieved 2020-03-01.
  3. ^ "Bathing Ape Bapes History | SneakerFiles". SneakerFiles. Retrieved 2018-07-04.
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-09-17. Retrieved 2008-10-08.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ "A Look Back at the Best BAPESTAs Ever Released". HYPEBEAST. Retrieved 2018-07-04.
  6. ^ "POLLS: Can Pharrell Really Save Billionaire Boys Club and ICECREAM?". HYPEBEAST. Retrieved 2020-07-27.
  7. ^ Cochrane, Lauren (2014-01-21). "Nigo: 'Uniqlo is streetwear too'". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2020-03-01.
  8. ^ "Here's a Look at the Upcoming Louis Vuitton x NIGO® Capsule Collection". Complex. Retrieved 2020-07-27.
  9. ^ "Genius | Song Lyrics & Knowledge". Genius. Retrieved 2020-07-27.
  10. ^ "sothebys".
  11. ^ "BILLIE IDLE®". BILLIE IDLE (in Japanese). Retrieved 2016-07-23.
  12. ^ Vice Japan (2014-06-04), BiS / nerve directed by NIGO®(2.5D × VICE), retrieved 2016-07-23
  13. ^ Idle Gossip, Space Shower Music, retrieved 2016-07-23
  14. ^ "KAWS Shatters Auction Record with $14.8 Million USD Painting". HYPEBEAST. Retrieved 2020-07-27.
  15. ^ "Sotheby's Was Hoping This KAWS Painting of 'The Simpsons' Would Sell for $1 Million. It Just Went for $14.7 Million". artnet News. 2019-04-01. Retrieved 2020-03-01.
  16. ^ "Millennials in Hoodies Spend $28 Million on Simpsons Art". 2019-04-01. Retrieved 2020-09-07.
  17. ^ "NIGO's Sotheby's Auction Just Brought in More Than $28 Million". Highsnobiety. 2019-04-01. Retrieved 2020-03-01.
  18. ^ Sanchez, Karizza. "Kid Cudi & Nigo Talk Streetwear, Music & Kids See Ghosts 2". Retrieved 2020-07-27.

External links[edit]