UNDERCOVER’s Jun Takahashi on the Importance of Punk
UNDERCOVER‘s Jun Takahashi has had a special place in his heart for punk rock and its surrounding culture since discovering Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren’s Seditionaries line. So taken was he with the Seditionaries line that he worked tirelessly to source original garments, many of which were showcased in his Seditionaries book, which he published with the help of a friend — Hiroshi Fujiwara. Takahashi recently sat down to talk about the impact of punk culture and aesthetics in his work and the special book he made with Fujiwara. Check out a brief excerpt below and read the full piece over at Style.com.
Tell me a little bit about your early experiences with punk music as a teenager and a young man in Tokyo. What does punk mean to you? Has that meaning changed over time?
I encountered punk rock in my early teens. To me, punk means a spirit unrestrained by conventional ideas, a spirit of rebelliousness, nihilism…things like that. I think it is a very humane way of thinking and living. This meaning hasn’t changed at all as I get older.
Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren’s line Seditionaries had a lot to do with establishing the punk look as we now know it, and I know it has had a strong influence on you. You’ve said in the past it was one of the collections that inspired you to begin making womenswear, and you and Hiroshi Fujiwara gathered your collection of Seditionaries pieces to make a book that’s now a sought-after rarity. What spoke to you about the Seditionaries collection when you first encountered it? What did it do differently from other fashion collections?
Until I encountered the genuine Seditionaries, I had thought punk fashion was just destructive, but when I looked at the clothes of the real Seditionaries, I had a tremendous shock, because they were very elegant and sophisticated. Still, destructive and erotic elements were merged in a sophisticated way. It was soul-shaking, because these conflicting elements fused together and came into existence in an exquisite balance.