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Did NIGO make US$300 million from fake BAPE zip-up shark hoodies?

Ben Baller said the Japanese streetwear OG owned the factories

LiFTED | Marcus Aurelius | 28 Jun 2024

The years 2005, 2006, and 2007 were a monumental time for streetwear. One brand in particular, BAPE, was running the streets with camouflage print and zip-up shark hoodies. They even had Lil Wayne at his apex, photographed in a purple camo BAPE hoodie sucking a lollipop on the red carpet at an awards show. This gave street cred to the Japanese brand and sent sales skyrocketing. The only slight problem with this was that the BAPE hoodie was a knockoff, so fakes were everywhere as well.

On a recent IG Live, jewelry designer Ben Baller claimed that NIGO, the OG streetwear designer and a revered figure in Japan, was making money not only from the real ones but from the fakes as well. He said that NIGO owned the factory that produced the camo and shark fakes and he took in over US$300 million from it. Baller said, “There were fakes that were so good out there and they were coming out and it was nuts. Shark Hoodies. When I found out that NIGO owned the factory that was producing the fakes, I was like wow. He was doing $300 million in counterfeit BAPES.”

While this story is yet to be verified or disproven, it would explain why Lil Wayne got a fake BAPE instead of a real one.

Check out Ben Baller's story here.