Jun Takahashi is the founder and head designer of cult Japanese label Undercover. He was born on September 21, 1969, in Kiryū, Japan. Jun Takahashi founded Undercover label in 1993, whilst studying at the Bunka Fashion College in Tokyo.
In 1993, he’s also teamed up with sneaker geek icon and branding genius Nigo from A Bathing Ape. The cooperation resulted in Nowhere, the Tokyo boutique launched in 1993 that became the first showcase for Takahashi’s talent. Over two decades onward, a picture of Nowhere’s unassuming storefront — ground zero for the second wave of Japanese fashion influence around the world.
In its development, Undercover was influenced by Punk, ripped Ts, and patched leather jackets. He has a very charming, rebellious, and often strange imagination.
His first runway collection took place in 1994, he recast the wardrobe staple as a distinct fashion item, exemplified by the B-3 flight jacket worn over a long skirt for a loose, grungy silhouette.
The Undercover collection gets even more sophisticated, trading in the Sex-Pistols-by-way-of-Harajuku wit from the early seasons to explore increasingly ingenious and imaginative concepts centered around femininity and sewing. Like other Japanese mavericks, in Takahashi’s hands, the classic sewing is disassembled, turned over, and reassembled to add a stunning modern effect.
Jun Takahashi’s uniqueness and courage in exploration can be seen on Undercover’s first runway in Paris in 2002. The runway featured a woman’s injured knee with dried blood crumbs covering an interesting wound pattern. (The theme of the collection is “scab”).
Rei Kawakubo is an influential person in Jun Takahashi’s career. Takahashi has always considered Rei Kawakubo as his role model. “In Europe, many designers are owned by fashion conglomerates, but in Japan, we tend to be independent. Rei is the model for that. She’s totally independent: owner, president, and designer. She controls everything. But of course, she also has Adrian,” says Takahashi.
Currently, Undercover has been sold in Asia, North America, Europe, and Australia, one of which is Rei Kawakubo’s Dover Street Market store. Undercover makes up most of its sales revenue in Asia. Because it turns out that even though this brand has a strong following, the markets in Europe and North America are more challenging.
Undercover itself also often collaborates with other big brands. For example, they collaborated with a well-known sportswear brand, Nike and created the Nike x Undercover Gyakusou. Besides that, Undercover has also collaborated with Uniqlo and created Uniqlo Undercover. And there are many more collaborations that are run undercover with other brands.