Undercover, Rebellious Fashion


WordsManon Baeza

With its hybrid silhouettes inspired by the world of streetwear Undercover, Japanese Jun Takahashi’s label founded in 1990, continues to impress the fashion world with a unique conceptual beauty. Young, prodigious and visionary, the friend of Rei Kawakubo was able to make fashion an art form of its own, blending subtly technical skill (acquired during his studies at the Bunka Fashion College) and Tokyo underground culture, inspired by his night crawls across the city.

Upon his graduation, Takahashi launched his own label. It was a daring move, but it paid off because today, Undercover has become one of the hottest streetwear brands, not only in Japan but in Europe too. The designer has been racking up prizes, such as the Mainichi Fashion Grand Prix with former winners including Issey Miyake and Junya Watanabe. His innate talent and his atypical vision for fashion has allowed him to work with brands including Nike, Supreme, Dr. Martens, Converse and Vans.

While the Japanese designer is inspired by both the British punk movement and American fashion, it is the lively district of Tokyo, Harajuku – a hub for street art and unusual fashion – which nourishes his work daily. It is in this same district that Takahashi opened his first store. Undercover now has almost 40 shops in Japan alone.

Constantly reinventing, Jun Takahashi advocates deconstructivism and explores the boundaries between beauty and ugliness in order to create fluid pieces, adorned with prints borrowed from pop culture. From Stanley Kubrick , to David Bowie , Undercover, demonstrates the desire to democratise fashion while paying homage to Japanese and popular culture. Both rebellious and paradoxical, Undercover creates new harmony, focused on femininity and form.

Branded ‘poetic’ but ‘sometimes disturbing’, the brand challenges its consumers. And with good reason, Undercover proclaims itself a committed brand, both politically and socially; Takahashi is one of the few designers to assert his political position or take a stand during his fashion shows. Cue (relatively distressing) collections which reflect the current fragile and uncertain climate, through creations which manifest notions of precariousness and instability. However, while the creator might mix his art with his ideologies, he always does it with humour and kindness.

Takahashi’s enchanting and yet sometimes sober imagination has the potential to destabilise, although it has not prevented Undercover to quickly establish itself in streetwear fashion. Its numerous juxtapositions and combinations of materials and prints testify to his great creativity and traditional know-how. His work embodies an unconventional spirit that reassembles classic pieces to transform them into contemporary creations with both elegant and macabre silhouettes, which highlight all the decadence of the fashion world.

To discover the latest Undercover collection in France, visit one of their eight Parisian shops .