Japanese streetwear pioneer Nigo has been appointed as the new artistic director at Kenzo.
Nigo was born the same year (1970) that Takada Kenzo opened his first store in Paris. He also graduated from the same college as Kenzo, the Tokyo-based fashion school, Bunka Fashion College. Furthermore, Nigo started his career in the fashion industry the very same year Kenzo joined the LVMH Group.
“I am proud to have been appointed Artistic Director of Kenzo,” said Nigo.
“Kenzo san’s approach to creating originality was through his understanding of many different cultures. It is also the essence of my own philosophy of creativity. Inheriting the spirit of Kenzo san’s craftsmanship to create a new Kenzo is the greatest challenge of my 30-year career, which I intend to achieve together with the team,” Nigo added. “Finally, I would like to thank Bernard Arnault and Sidney Toledano for giving me this wonderful opportunity.”
Prior to joining Kenzo, Nigo launched A Bathing Ape in 1993, a streetwear brand that specializes in men’s, women’s and children’s apparel. The label was later sold in 2011 to I.T for roughly $2.8 million, which was followed by Nigo’s departure in 2013. To date, the Japanese label runs and operates 19 stores in Japan, including Bape Stores, Bape Pirate Stores, Bape Kids Stores, Bapexclusive Aoyama and Bapexclusive Kyoto.
Throughout his career, Nigo has worked to change the global landscape of street culture by working simultaneously in fashion and music. He has collaborated with some of the world’s renowned companies like Uniqlo, Adidas Originals, Kaws, Levi’s and Verdy and creative individuals such as Pharrell Williams. In his various collaborations, Nigo has consistently looked for new ways to innovate in an effort to tie fashion and his audience. Nigo’s most recent collaboration was with Virgil Abloh for a Louis Vuitton for a 2020 capsule collection.
“I am very happy to welcome Nigo as the Artistic Director of the Maison Kenzo. The arrival of an extremely talented Japanese designer will allow us to write a new page in the history of the House that Takada Kenzo founded. I am convinced that the creativity and innovation of Nigo, as well as his attachment to the history of the House, will fully express all the potential of Kenzo,” said Sidney Toledano, chairman and CEO of the LVMH Fashion Group and a member of the LVMH Executive Committee.
Nigo’s appointment comes after Kenzo announced Sylvain Blanc as its new chief executive. Blanc was most recently CEO of Undiz, a division of Etam Group. He is taking over from Sylvie Colin, who is leaving the label for a personal project. Blanc’s appointment will become effective October 18, 2021.
Nigo, meanwhile, will start in his role on September 20, 2021, and he is expected to unveil his first collection next January during the Paris Fashion Week. Nigo is succeeding Felipe Oliveria Baptista, who, after a two-year stint, parted ways with the label in April 2021.