Lest you think fashion has learned from its pandemic promises to “do things differently,” the situation remains mostly the same: On runways there are cinematic gestures intended to stoke social media coverage and in stores there are, strangely, more normal clothes than ever before. The space between fashion’s fantasy and its reality is becoming a gulf. And yet some are quietly, actually changing. In Japan, Jun Takahashi has reset his brand degree by degree over the past two years, staging shows in Tokyo and creating some of the most compelling lookbooks the 2020 and 2021 seasons had to offer. His next shift: Restarting his women’s pre-collections.
In press notes, the brand explained that “overarching seasonal themes are replaced in favor of contemporary wear for everyday life.” Translation: No big gestures here, just practical clothes. But what sets Takahashi’s work apart is that his normal garments are anything but. A cultural magpie, he can’t help but make a t-shirt not-so-simple with a beaded, Rolling Stones-esque lip graphic or turn a basic white hoodie into something extraordinary with rows of white fringe. Pajama bottoms are stitched to leggings for double the comfort, while polo shirts and sweaters are spliced with sheer insets. Even the most classic of classics, a white Oxford shirt, is reconsidered with a blooming chiffon collar.
Luckily for Undercover clients, most of Takahashi’s wowza garments are actually produced, but even his versions of wardrobing essentials bring a little magic into everyday clothing and everyday life.