Here is another great interview with Undercover’s Jun Takahashi, this time with Filep Motwary of Un Nouveau Ideal firing questions at the illustrious designer. Amongst the topic of conversation is the concept of the label and the elements that are the cornerstone as well as Takahashi’s background. Below are some highlights of the interview while you can read the complete piece here.
What always impresses me is the fact that each of your collections does have a completely individual concept and result. From ultra glamorous refined chiffon and laces next you jump to a more casual approach and immediately after to a more refined architectural and structured silhouette.. Could you please explain?
My goal is to express what is happening in my head through art, mainly fashion-of course; there are times when I express myself through other forms of art as well – and I try to design from multiple directions by having different approaches and concepts. My selections are based on how fresh they appear to me. Of course, it is true that I am constantly interested in various things. Therefore, when I rely on the flow of thoughts in my brain, creating art with many different themes , it seems as something that comes natural to me.
It doesn’t worry you that your clients will be surprised or that you may lose some of them for not giving them a specific UNDERCOVER “outline” OR “signature” each time?
Though I may not have an obvious signature item, it may be possible to find common qualities or feelings somewhere in each collection. That is what Undercover is about. But the common quality is nothing more than the feelings that make up Undercover’s outlook on the world and the universe.
As a young designer you influenced a lot of young people back then with your “NOWHERE” store. How did it feel back then in the early 90’s?
Because I started it haphazardly with Nigo, with whom I opened the store and at the time the movement was unexpected. But there is no question that I was extremely happy about it.
How different is the youth culture of the 90’s compared to 2011?
Because the Internet was not as widespread during the 90s, particularly in the early 90s, I think young people were more focused on collecting information than today. It was a time when you had to make efforts to obtain what you wanted. I think the difference is that today’s young people lack of hunger. We saw things with our own eyes, touched them, and felt them. It was a non-virtual time back then.
How important was Rei Kawakubo’s support in your career?
It meant a great deal to me. I was able to receive support from someone whom I respect. I feel very grateful.
How important is the opinion of others in what you do?
Extremely important. However, only opinions from people whom I trust. I listen to the opinions of people whom I trust as much as possible.
Who is the UNDERCOVER customer? Could you please describe the man and woman of UNDERCOVER?
Independent people who know themselves.
People who are headstrong.
People who cherish freedom.
People who enjoy humor.
People with morals.
In addition to the above, people who are rebellious.
What is the concept behind the UNDERMAN SS11 collection. Why the Sci-Fi approach?
It’s an “homage” to the low-tech, underground special-effect superhero television shows that I was influenced by as a child in the 70s. They are hugely different from American superheroes such as Superman and Spiderman. Unlike the good versus evil-type theme of American superheroes, I added a spirit that good and evil all become one in the end. It’s an even more peaceful ending isn’t it? I wanted to express that idea. It’s not really related to fashion, I suppose.
What other projects are you involved in for 2011?
A fashion show , a documentary focusing on the whole procedure before and during the show and finally I am publishing a picture book. There are many more projects, but I cannot tell you about them yet.
What are your morals Mr Takahashi?
Discipline and common sense in day-to-day life.But I don’t know what that is (laughs).