Monkey 47 x A Bathing Ape
Monkeys, Bathing Apes, and a drop of gin. Sounds good, right? Well, it is good. In fact, it is very good.
Let’s start with Monkey 47. Me being of a slightly less boozy stance than some, was relatively surprised at the reaction of my friends when opening a beautifully packaged bottle of the Black Forest’s finest. One of the eponymous names in the world of gin, Monkey 47 was clearly a point of intrigue and excitement for those in attendance.
For Monkey 47, detail is central to the success of anything they produce, including collaborations. Much has been made of their 47 botanicals being distilled into each bottle, which granted is incredible, but perhaps more importantly, or impressively, is that in a world so convoluted with a litany of alcoholic options, Monkey 47 has remained at the top of the tree. Apologies, the pun was simply unavoidable.
Germany may be synonymous with beer, but don’t be fooled. Amongst the hops are those with the keys to the art of gin distillery, and these people are Monkey 47. Given the name of the brand, a collaboration with A Bathing Ape (BAPE) makes sense on the surface. Yet, what has happened, is both brands have worked in tandem with one another, aware that if they get it right, the collaboration will look and feel as seamless as it should.
BAPE was the brainchild of Nigo, one of the most influential people on the streetwear culture capable of cultivating an audience that simply adores everything he produces. The infamous ape became a global sensation following their domestic success in Japan, captivating the minds of millions. BAPE have a mightily impressive CV of collaborators, including brands such as Stussy, Supreme, Adidas, CDG, Carhartt, Undercover, as well as with artists such as Kanye West, Pharrell Williams, A$AP Rocky, Flatbush Zombies. Trust us, the list goes on.
So, what has the collaboration produced?
Well, both brands have worked on an item from the other. The Monkey 47 x BAPE gin bottle is marvellously designed, with the BAPE logo adorned with a crown whilst the Monkey 47 logo sits just underneath. The background colouring and design have clear BAPE direction laced throughout with the spotted, pseudo-spherical ape figure ominously looming across the packaging.
The apparel is actually very nice. BAPE has always been admired by streetwear aficionados, yet, there has always been a hint of exclusivity in the way that it can be styled as the time of logo-mania has surpassed us. Yet, the delicate imagery on the back of the t-shirt compliments the large logo on the front, as too does the Monkey 47 frontispiece that creates a welcoming deviation from the BAPE norm. The hoodie falls more inline with classic BAPE styling, full of complication, colour, and intrigue as does the shirt. The skateboard falls into the category of vogue products that are used more as design objects rather than functional tools, but there is nothing wrong with that.
The collaboration has been welcomed with open arms both in the world of fine spirits and streetwear. This collaboration marks a wonderfully synergised project from two brands known for doing things just a little differently.
Words by Jai McIntosh