Urahara Sanin — Undercover Japan – The most creative long lasting brand that is not a household name

We go again,

Intro

I have viewed undercover for so many years now watching from afar because my bank balance has not been able to touch it not could I justify it if I had said money. You could not tell me Jun Takahasi Nike React wasn’t top 2 Sneakers of 2018 I am pleased to see people really gel with the brand today as the link between London and japan wasn’t all that strong. We’ve had Yohji and Rei holding on by a tether but when it comes to past their discovery you really need to be an insider to know what undercover is.

A brief history of Undercover

I see the visions of undercover because some of the value it holds is just so closely related to Britain. I can see the influence of Rei Kawakubo and Vivienne Westwood ooze from Juns work; so much so it attracted Americans like Kanye and Pharrell into the fold of bridging the gap of the cultures because when it comes to Japanese denim it’s hard for me to find a second place the long lasting supple cotton is really where it’s at.

Jun started selling like hot cakes with, redone tees and retro fits at vendors from the like of milkboy and Billy’s in Harajuku.

The streetwear aesthetic is probably the reason why it’s taken so long for Undercover to be recognised, the Make shift aesthetic of the brand identity. The real British make do and mend along with the strong Japanese construction and proven nature of the clothes.

The clincher was Jun working alongside Nigo as a team they opened their now famous store, (which I hope to visit some day) NOWHERE in Tokyo being backed like a guy like Hiroshi Fujiwara it’s astonishing how streetwear bought round titans like these together in the golden age of Japanese streetwear while Europe was going through its anti fashion stage. His Street Punk style in Japan is so famous it would influence clothing design in anime and

Undercover cult

The fan base of undercover is strong and always there i get the Rick Owens Cult fanbase vibes all the way. Those who know about Undercover will y’all about it emphatically like a fanatic. The Street Punk style is something I can see a mile off; much like Rick Owens he is an unnamed staple in fashion, outside of the fashion world; — if you know fashion you know who he is if you don’t you won’t. But you will probably dress something like he’s made or love his style if you love streetwear.

Your favourite designer may suckle from the teet of his groundwork from 30 years ago

Final thoughts

I would say undercover is the embodiment of what the industry standard for a fashion house is continuing on with the theme of the ethos/ founding principles; exploring but not venturing off into domain that is outside of its character; collaborating on the brand identity and not for the money —this could be said to be to Juns Detriment but with me having such a long lasting fashion house who stands on the integrity of the reason it started 30 years ago and still getting collaborations with Nike, showing in Paris & working with Pitti Uomo is a testament that as a designer and storyteller you can thrive.

We’re learning more of – Whatever Moves Your Dial

Damilare. Not Your Typical

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Top Sneaker Releases of 2018 – The 5 Highest Tier Sneakers Designs and Curation of the Year

We Go Again,

The Hype and High of it All

There have been many sneakers that have been repressed in 2018, don’t know whether it’s because I’ve been paying more attention to wearable design and sneaker tech but this feels like the most sneakers that have dropped in the space of a year.

The amount and type of people that are able to get sneakers from Comedians like Kevin Hart and Resellers like Sean Wotherspoon the variety of origins in creative design has been off the wall as Nike and Adidas fight for the top spot.

So with that intro let’s get into it. In no particular order

1) Off White x Air Jordan “White”

Virgil does it again with this release at the top of the year, continuing with The Ten inspo, along with a cut+paste Nike swoosh zip tie and orange tab

The theme for Virgil’s Collaborations have stayed true and consistent which is very commendable and noteworthy, the 3% effect is bringing the sneakers forward and without losing integrity within the Air Jordan brand. Still at 3X retail price whenever resellers are bumping the lovers but that’s a different blog for a different day. Well done Virgil.

2) Yeezy 500

Kanye has been bringing higher and higher the brand of yeezy with his designs curating for a more savvy buyer that understands design and quality of product

It show in design and in the market for it as 500 are unavailable everywhere as soon as they dropped the colour-ways they shape the comfortability and how they feel on feet these win with those who buy, there is not one complaint I can find in the market.

3) Nike Reacts x Undercover

These right here are struck me as soon as I saw them, a true visceral reaction, it doesn’t happen often but when it does it’s so enjoyable, knowing Jun Takahashi well for his denim that is grailed by many

he joins up with Nike with this funky fresh pair of Japanese styled colour blocking trainers, fulfilling his Fan Base wishes of a Nike shoe, one of many designers bought to western light snagged by Nike in true opportunist fashion.

4) Cactus Jack Jordan 4’s

This was such an unexpected collab and I didn’t know what to expect but for Travis to come out with this Kick the way he did it is the start of an amazing journey in sneaker curation

Whether Nike Gives him his very own silhouette like his mentor before him Kanye West is what the future holds. But for now we’re enjoying what he has given to us in the Jordan 4’s

5) Pharrell Crazy BYW Empathy

This trainer had to make this list, if not for the OG technology, curated so excellently by Pharrell seeing the tones and inspiration of culture in these, having all these sneakers look so incredibly fun looking.

Which is truly where my taste is heading, lovely and free lines. The design considerations made are exactly what I expect from someone who has been doing this for quite some time.


OP ED

There were really so many sneaker releases this year. Too many to name I felt like these 5 were noteworthy because they bought something new and an element of where design is going, picking the right yellow, blue, red & even black is always on a designers mind. When I look at these I feel people who tried.

What Nike and Adidas have done is create a true competitive market, Creatives like Virgil and Fear Of Gods Jerry Lorenzo going head to head with Kanye West and Pharrell the Catalyst for much cultural influence in artist from the black Community getting a shot in designing. Like Travis Scott Tyga and Drake getting a say in how their sneakers would look.

Final thoughts

Nike really stepped up their game, giving Samuel Ross his second sneaker and recruiting Yoon of Ambush & Matthew of Alyx. Right now I’m drawing a true blank and there’s not one notable Adidas recruit that made waves in Sneakers.

I think we can truly call this Nike’s Year, after 2017 and Adidas’ 200% increase in market cap.

The yeezy effect, Nike wasn’t looking to do that again and really came back with a blast. So let’s call it a draw.

We’re learning more of – Whatever Moves Your Dial

Damilare. Not Your Typical

Follow my socials Instagram: @nytypical Twitter: @nytypical

Please check out Some of my Thoughts On:

For some longer form write ups Read some of My Dialogues

Click here for my Essays 

To learn more about Owning Your Own Ship – OYOS  


Notable sneakers:

Yassin Saidi with Rs x

Saleh bemberry with Versace

Sean Wotherspoon with Nike