To celebrate our BAPE collaboration, The 10,000 spoke with Mike Nieuwstraten, better known as Baardei, about his collection of the Japanese streetwear brand, which is coveted by the likes of Sean Wotherspoon and Virgil Abloh. Read on to learn about the origins of Baardei’s collection and a few tips to curating your own.
Your collection is known to be very rare. Tell us about it. When and how did you get started collecting streetwear, and more specifically Bathing Ape (BAPE)?
I actually started collecting quite late, around 2009 or so. At the time I was buying parts in Japan for my Toyota Trueno, which gave me some decent knowledge on how to buy and navigate the Yahoo Japan auction site. That and the time zone I was in, gave me a bit of an edge on buying rare pieces.
My collection started out with rare Kaws pieces, and after seeing his collaboration with Bape, I became more interested in collecting Bape. I started reading more about Nigo, bought countless Japanese magazines, and saw we shared many interests, like the love for Planet of the Apes and vintage Americana. I sorta made it my challenge to find as many rare and early pieces as possible, but even now, after all these years, I still come across pieces I have never seen before.
Do you have a favorite collab or piece in your collection?
For the longest time it was my 1993 Chrome Head tee, which was one of the first tees they printed. I have only seen two of them come available over all these years. They had three initial designs and recently a friend in Malaysia alerted me of another. So, now I’m trying to hunt that one down as well. In Malaysia they have a huge vintage t-shirt scene, and I’ve made quite a few friends over there. It’s always fun to hunt the rare pieces together.