Swatch x BAPE: how mass market turns to drop culture

Born in 1983, SWATCH are perceived as pure pop fashion plastic accessories, to be collected and worn to match the day’s mood, rather than watches. Just 10 years following the launch of SWATCH, DJ Nigo founded BAPE (short for A Bathing Ape) brand in Tokyo. Now part of the Hong Kong fashion group IT, BAPE ranges of men’s, women’s and children’s clothing, have crossed overseas to the world, with stores in New York, London, Paris, spreading the street culture globally, and helped by a number of collaborations: Pharrel Williams or Kanye West, Pepsi or UGG to name just a few.

Now, both brands have come together to celebrate the release of the newest SWATCH series, “BIG BOLD” and announce a first collaboration.

Six Big Bold x BAPE have been presented after a teasing phase on social networks: “The World”, “Tokyo”, “London”, “New York”, “Paris” and “Swiss” editions. Staying true the “drop culture” featuring all the streetwear collaborations, and to boost desirability, both partners have made not too easy for customers to have one.

Check out how clients in Japan can get their hands on one of them, as seen on BAPE website:

“On Saturday, June 1st, all models will be available at BAPEXCLUSIVE AOYAMA, BAPE STORE KYOTO, and BAPE.COM WEBSTORE. The World model will be available at A BATHING APE® Japan locations followed by the global release on Saturday, June 15th.

A lottery will be held to determine the order of customers’ entering the store at 9:30 a.m. on the launch date of the store: BAPE STORE® SHIBUYA, HARAJUKU, OSAKA, KYOTO, BAPEXCLUSIVE Aoyama.

Customers who arrive after the selection time will not be allowed, for any reason, to enter the selection. Note: For other stores, please ask directly at the store.

Only limited numbers are available, so you may be unable to purchase the product even after queuing.
In the case of queues, lotteries will be held to decide the order in which people can enter the store. (This is not a guarantee of the right to purchase.)

Do not queue during the night or early in the morning, since this causes inconvenience to neighboring stores and residents.

Any behavior causing inconvenience to local residents, other stores, or other customers, or attempts to jump the queue, may lead to sale of the product being discontinued immediately. Customers who fail to follow directions given by our staff will not receive tickets for the lottery or be allowed to purchase the product.

Sales will be refused to anyone caught offering money or goods to other customers, or trying to sell or otherwise promote their own products, etc. to other customers inside or outside the store.

Buyers must pay with their own money.

Payments on behalf of groups will not be accepted.”

This explain a lot about the “drop culture” and how to manage a launch, as this is not happening just when Japan meet Switzerland…


About Paolo Lucci

Branding and licensing specialist, Brand Jam's founder and heartful promoter.