Jun Takahashi is a Japanese Fashion Designer, the founder the label Undercover. Born in 1969, Takahashi spent a peaceful middle-class childhood in the rural town of Kiryu, Gunma. Somewhere in his teenage years, he discovered punk and fled to Tokyo on the weekends to scourge up artifacts from cheapo rock shops. The costumes accompanying his new favorite musical genre made him transfer his passion for drawing onto the fashion canvas. “I really liked the Sex Pistols’ visual presence and sound, and I looked things up and found that Vivienne Westwood had done their clothes.” He is also an acquaintance of Hiroshi Fujiwara.
During his time at Bunka, Takahashi decided to start his own label – Undercover. His time at school and wandering the world’s largest fashion market had given him the skills and outlook to fulfill his punk fashion fantasies, but after graduation, he started to gravitate to a more sophisticated style. “A designer friend took me to the Comme des Garçons store one day, and I was just blown away. You can make clothes like this? They didn’t teach you how to make things like that at school.”
At first, Undercover just sold small hand-made pieces to select shops, but in 1993, Nigo came to Takahashi with an interesting proposal: an investor wanted to give them money to start their own store in Harajuku. In April, the two 23 year-olds opened the legendary Nowhere shop in a empty section of Ura-Harajuku – with one side selling Undercover and the other selling Nigo’s pre-Bape curated import goods. The two youngsters joined with Hiroshi Fujiwara to do a column for street fashion magazine Asayan called “Last Orgy ” suddenly making them media icons with a Midas touch.
The initial store which the two, began was called NOWHERE, drawing inspiration from a Beetles song, “Nowhere land”
Fans lined up to buy every product they casually advocated each month. Things got so extreme that readers’ polls started listing Jun Takahashi in the #2 spot for “Coolest Male” – something that made the young designer decide to drop out of the limelight. “I really hated it. I’m not a celebrity, and it got in the way of actually making clothes.”Instead, Takahashi concentrated on the Tokyo Collection and appeasing the ravenous hunger of his growing cult fan base. (He describes the average Under Cover customer as “Kind of weird.”) While most of his patrons are male, Takahashi prefers his ladies line and focuses almost exclusively on it for his formal collections: “The ideas of the men’s line are limited to what I would want to wear, real clothes. With the ladies’ line, I want to do something bigger than that. Ladies’ is where I can express my world view.”
The opening of an Under Cover Ladies shop in Aoyama in 1998 gave reason for Takahashi’s brand to escape from the makeshift partnership with Nigo and A Bathing Ape at Nowhere.
In 2002, UnderCover graduated from the Tokyo Collection and moved onto the international stage of Paris.
Since showing in Paris, Undercover’s following and popularity has grown significantly over the years. Jun Takahashi was invited by A Magazine Curated by to curate the entire Issue 4 of the magazine. 2009 marked another milestone for the Japanese label, where Jun Takahashi showcased his 2010 Spring/Summer Collection at the Pitti Uomo in Florence. A collection titled “Less is Better” inspired by the design ethos of Dieter Rams.