Jun Takahashi was born in Kiryu, Japan in 1969. He studied fashion design at the Bunka Academy of Fashion in Tokyo, together with Nigo, who now designs the line, A Bathing Ape, he debuted at the lowest level of production with a line of T-"shirts that he named Nowhere.
In his spare time, Jun was the lead singer in a Tokyo Punk band called Tokyo Sex Pistols.
Even before he graduated in 1991, he had started up his own label and was designing clothes for his friends. The company he called UNDERCOVER, and was for women, men, and children. In 1993 he opened his "Nowhere" store, in 1994 he put on his first runway show and in 1995 participated in Tokyo Fashion Week. His garments were successful right from the beginning and were soon selling all over Japan. His success in Japan was so considerable that in a very short time he had opened 17 boutiques. He has about 30 stores now.
The Japanese designer Rei Kawakubo who runs her company Comme des Garcons, took Jun under her wing and persuaded him to come to Paris. The Paris store Colette liked his clothes so much that they asked Takahashi to present his 1998 collection "Exchange" in their store.
He is now married with a beautiful wife and a baby daughter, and lives in Paris for most of his time.
To introduce with AW 1999 collection "Ambivalence" he presented reversible clothes and had twins walk down, each wearing the same garment but one inside-out. Both versions were infinitely wearable. Pieces like a denim jacket that reverses to a nylon windbreaker, or a pair of nylon drawstring pants that turn inside out to become cargo trousers, were funny and street-inspired. A casual denim jacket turned into an elegant fur dress, another amazing design consisted of a pair of pants which could be worn as a skirt on the reverse.
Takahashi has won almost every award Japan has to offer. In 2001 he was awarded the prestigious Mainichi prize normally taken by established designers like Issey Miyake or Junya Watanabe.
Undercover made it's debut at Paris Fashion Week in October 2002, for Spring/Summer 2003 and one of the dresses is shown here on the right. His appliquéd pants were works of art, and pin-tucked and pleated little black dresses were also most admired. He finished his show with models wearing brightly coloured transparent floral burkhas .
Undercover has been gradually maturing from its origins as a cult street fashion brand and is now breaking into the US and European markets. They started with teenagers in the early 90s, then customers in their twenties, now they are after people with money who have a little of the rebel spirit still in them.
His fashion is multi-layered, eclectic in choice of colors, and highly wearable.