The build-up behind leading to the October launch of the Nike x UNDERCOVER Gyakusou performance running collection has been anything but withdrawn. The collaboration between coveted Japanese designer Jun Takahashi (UNDERCOVER) and Nike has embodied both of brands finest elements of both brands. Nike’s innovative design and functionality of UNDERCOVER’s minimalist aesthetic have brought about a modern perspective on athletic wear. The team over at SLAMXHYPE had the opportunity to spend the day with Jun Takahashi and get first hand perspective from the man himself about his love for running, music, and what’s more to come amongst other things. Excerpts from the entire piece are offered below:
SLAMXHYPE: A few years ago you started running. Why?
Jun Takahashi: For my health, just to be healthy.
How was it in the beginning?
The first six months was only for half and hour, and then it went from 5K to 6K to 8K to 10K, now I’m up to 20K every other day. The distance grew and things got more serious.
What drew you to running?
It’s the easiest and most basic of sports. You don’t need any tools to start. I thought it was quite easy to start, but soon found out that it wasn’t easy at all. I learned it was quite hard, but I found a coach to teach me how to run, and it got easier from there.
Where’s the best place to run in Japan?
It’s too difficult to run in the city because of all the signals and you have to stop. There’s also too much information in Tokyo. Information overload. So I avoid that by running in the park.
I thought you ran between cars? (Jokingly referring to the Nike ad campaign)
(laughing) No, they made us do that. It’s not true. I always run in the park.
I heard the next step for you is to run a marathon in Hawaii. When did the idea first come into play?
When you are able to run a certain distance, running a marathon becomes a goal. I’d like to try to run a marathon. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.
What was the biggest problem you ran into, clothing wise, while running?
Running gear doesn’t have many pockets. I usually go out with keys and coins when I run and had to put everything into one pocket, that made too much noise. Another issue was the noise that typical running fabrics make. Every time I ran, an idea of functionality in running wear would come up. I added stretch to certain areas, I put pockets in different areas to try to distribute the weight and keep it close to the body so there isn’t too much pull and noise from running, I added the different fabrics on the sleeve so you could wipe away the sweat, a lot of things.
You’re signed on to do three more seasons with Nike for running, are you constantly looking for new forms of inspiration?
It’s not that new stuff keeps coming out because the functionality is always the same. I’m just looking to change a few things here and there. Design and color. Usually running gear has vivid colors, but I wanted to harmonize with nature with subtle quiet colors.
Running gear was originally designed to be that vivid so they wouldn’t get hit by drivers while they ran on the street.
I used some reflectors. (He gestures to the small reflectors on the bottom of the jackets) I run in the morning.