A Taiwanese singer/actor named 阿Ben (Ah Ben) recently went on a variety show where the topic of the day was “name brand vs. no brand clothing”. He was head-to-toe in Bape merchandise and brought along some pieces of his collection to show the audience. There’s a lot of fans who will no doubt be interested in watching this so I will be supplying a general translation of what they talked about. Thanks to DJ-Shareen for bringing this to my attention.
On a side note, as a fluent Mandarin speaker, I’ve been asked why I watch so many Japanese and Korean TV dramas and no Mandarin-language shows. From my experience, there are only two types of Chinese and Taiwanese dramas — 1) poorly acted modern-day dramas featuring the latest hot singers or models who have no business making a show and 2) epics set in various dynasties of China’s long history, which have legitimate actors but uninteresting subject matter. I would love to be proven wrong though, so if you have a favorite Mandarin drama I should look into, let me know!
Six celebrity guests are featured: 3 who demand name brand labels sit together on one side while the other 3 are content with cheap clothing. What an intense topic of discussion! This is the sort of tripe that variety shows debate. But anyway, the Bape talk in part 1 starts around 3:15 when the host asks Ah Ben to introduce everything he’s wearing and say how much each item costs. The guests are astonished by the high prices (he gives them in Taiwan dollars, divide by approximately 30 to get the U.S. equivalent).
At 4:45, he shows his $800 jeans and points out that when he rolls them up, the label can be seen on the inside, which everybody promptly mocks by rolling up their pants (I’m not too familiar with the Ursus line within Bape — is that really a feature?!). Then he points out the more subtle stylings of the Ursus jeans on the back, which is true compared to the large garish designs of typical Bape jeans.
At 6:10, he pulls out his wallet + chain and says that it costs 2,200. Everybody says that’s actually a surprisingly reasonable price until he clarifies $2,200 U.S. dollars. The guests are aghast, understandably so, and point out that he could have bought a random wallet in Thailand that would be just as good. His segment in part 1 ends at 7:30
Ah Ben comes back in Part 4 at 6:30 with a suitcase of goodies to show. Immediately, the girl in brown quips that all his house’s value is in that suitcase. When he shows a jacket with a big logo on the back and says it costs more than $2,000 U.S., a host requests to inspect the jacket to see if there’s a TV hidden inside.
7:40 — Girl in brown is impressed by the jacket material.
Ah Ben ends Part 4 with Gore-Tex collaborations. The guy in white pants loves Gore-Tex but balks when he is informed that these cost triple the standard Gore-Tex price for an equivalent jacket.
At 1:00, he says that in the past he would spend close to $3,500 a month on Bape merchandise. He goes on to explain that his dedication to the brand has made him personally known by Bape founder Nigo. When Nigo came to the Taipei Bape store to promote a 15th anniversary book, he brought Ah Ben to the front of the line and autographed his book. Guy in white shirt sarcastically replies at 1:45 that Nigo only knows him because he’s the only one buying this brand. Ah Ben warns that careless comments like that will bring the wrath of Internet fans!
3:10 — Ah Ben displays the Bathing Ape toilet paper. Everybody laughs but then the lady in brown reminisces that she used to own Hello Kitty toilet paper as well, not to actually use but just as a neat display.
5:10 — He tells the story of how he emptied his bank account once buying Bape clothing. He wanted to buy an entire collection of items (didn’t specify which) and was left with about $10 left in his account. 5 days went by before he got more funds and could eat again.
The hosts conclude the show by saying there is some justification behind name brands — better material plus specialized design.