‘Since I was little, ‘beautiful’ wasn’t enough.’


‘Since I was little, ‘beautiful’ wasn’t enough.’

How fashion finally landed upon Jun Takahashi’s world of Undercover.

Jun Takahashi in conversation with Kim Jones, Tim Blanks and Nobuhiko Kitamura
Photographs by Norbert Schoerner

Jun Takahashi is unafraid to dive into the unknown. Travel into his Undercover world and his clothes appear, season after season, like answers to questions you’d never thought of asking. They have meaning, symbolizing his fearless desire to upend preconceived ideas and almost force you see the world in a new way. Indeed, since launching Undercover in 1990 in Tokyo and opening the now-legendary store Nowhere in 1993 (with Nigo and Hiroshi Fujiwara), Takahashi has actually been altering the grammar of fashion: marrying what we now call streetwear with high-fashion detailing and quality finishes, all contained in avant-garde, high-wire concepts that are both deadly serious and airily light-hearted. Add in his long-standing love of collaboration and the Undercover ethos seems to encapsulate the current fashion moment.

And the perfect time for System to go Undercover. So, to Tokyo, where Jun Takahashi caught up with his mentor, ‘brother’ and fellow designer Nobuhiko ‘Nobu’ Kitamura, whose label Hysteric Glamour triggered his love of fashion. He then invited a visiting Kim Jones over to Undercover HQ for a chat about how Japanese streetwear has always inspired the new Dior Homme designer’s work. Meanwhile, in Paris, Tim Blanks spoke to Jun and deciphered his most recent collections the day after the final Undercover womenswear show (for the time being), entitled We Are Infinite. Which photographer Norbert Schoerner then shot in an apocalyptic Tokyo, as part of a larger portfolio documenting Jun Takahashi’s world – taking in everything from late-night karaoke to early-morning jogging.

Get a copy of System No. 11 to go fully Undercover. Click to buy.