Punk. Fantasy. Couture. Counterculture. Believe it or not, all of these words and more come to mind when people hear the name ‘Undercover’. From its highly acclaimed collections capturing the essence of the times, to collaborations with a wide range of brands including Supreme and Nike, the Japanese cult brand is a pioneer in combining youth and countercultures with high fashion over the course of decades. Its impact on both fashion and culture as a whole is simply incomprehensible, but perhaps we can gain a clearer understanding of it through it’s founder Jun Takahashi.
Born in 1969 in the countryside of Japan, Jun Takahashi radiated rebellious energy from the very beginning, becoming infatuated with English punk band Sex Pistols and punk-esque designer Vivienne Westwood from a young age. This fascination with clothing led him to enroll in Japan’s prestigious Bunka Fashion College, where he would create Undercover together with his friend Hironori Ichinose. The beginnings of Undercover consisted of clothing inspired by the work of Vivienne Westwood, but soon began to find its own voice and soon enough its own cult following. Takahashi, together the Japanese fashion figures Hiroshi Fujiwara and Nigo, created the ‘limited streetwear’ formula before the likes of Supreme ever did, creating a mysterious aura around his brand as a result. This strategy of incorporating high quality clothing with youth and streetwear sensibilities would build up Undercover’s notoriety over the years, eventually taking the spotlight on the world stage from its debut Paris collection at Paris Fashion Week in 2002 and beyond. The rest is history: Undercover has proven itself as a force to be reckoned with, influencing both people in the fashion industry and creatives who dream for greatness. With Undercover’s existence in this world, who is to say that greatness is just a dream?
Writer: Casino Riv