Jun Takahashi – the mastermind behind cult fashion labels Undercover and Gyakusou – likes to run in style, and in reverse …
WHAT IS UNDERCOVER NIKE GYAKUSOU?
Undercover is the brand Jun Takahashi is most well known for. In 2010, the Japanese designer was approached by Nike Lab with an opportunity to collaborate on an activewear line. An avid runner, Takahashi agreed to take Nike’s sector-dominating clothing technologies and put them “through my own filter and ‘remix’ my own product” he told Highsnobiety at the time.
Why Gyakusou? The name loosely translates to Running in reverse or Running the wrong way, referencing Tokyo’s Team GIRA running club – to which Jun Takahashi is a member – who runs around Tokyo’s parks in an anti-clockwise direction. As team GIRA defy convention, so too does Jun Takahashi with his avante-garde minimalist activewear offering: Nike X Undercover Gyakusou.
NIKE GYAKUSOU DESIGN PHILOSOPHY
Unlike some of the other collaborative partnerships we’ve seen, Undercover Gyakusou and Nike share more than just their logos and colour palettes. Jun Takahashi’s design language is clear to see in the pairs' collective output. A great example would be the 2021 NIKE ZOOMX VAPORFLY NEXT% GYAKUSOU, which features a reinforced toe box, and additional side strips for enhanced lockdown and fit. Here Undercover Gyakusou adds more functionality to the shoe and addresses issues that runners have had with the silhouette in the past. As well as structural changes, it features a muted plum-coloured upper and contrasting translucent and dark forest detailing.
The core values of Undercover Gyakusou are rooted in functionality and subtlety. Garments and footwear designed for runners by runners, with a focus on style. Jun Takahashi uses colours which “reflect a harmony with nature” as he phrased it in Dazed magazine in 2010. When asked about the safety of his colour choices by Hypebeast, being that most running gear is neon for visibility, he candidly replied “I run in the morning”, joking aside he explains that small reflectors are included in key areas of the garments for this purpose. Well-placed pockets are essential to Undercover Gyakusou, “I usually go out with keys and coins when I run and had to put everything into one pocket, that made too much noise”, Takahashi told Hypebeast. Undercover Gyakusou’s Spring Summer 2013’s ‘Multi Panel Shorts’ feature secure low-profile zip pockets on the sides and back of both legs, and 2019’s ‘Gyakusou Went The Distance’ capsule collection included several lightweight and highly breathable hooded running jackets with a hardy back pocket and transparent front pouch, waterproofed for maximum function.
A note to close on from Jun Takahashi and his Nike X Undercover Gyakusou line, in conversation with Tiffany’s Tokyo TV: “Running is Punk”.
WHERE TO BUY UNDERCOVER NIKE GYAKUSOU?
Browse the Truss Archive Fashion Resource app for a curated selection of iconic Nike X Undercover Gyakusou from online retailers.