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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Urahara Sanin: Nigo — King of the Hypebeasts

We go again

Enter Nigo

Nigo is such a massive superstar in the ‘streetwear’ space he has to be mentioned amongst the greats when it comes to Harajuku. Many speak of Nigo as the main Head of the iconic Nowhere Store, when Jun was right there.

Before Nigo was King of the Hypebeasts he was enamoured by screen printing camo and comfortable clothing that would be adopted by the most prominent culture Hip Hop.

Nigo and Hip Hop

Pharrell would link arms with Nigo after their jeweller in common Jacob would link them like a Cuban and they would share ideas and thoughts and Bathing Ape in Lukewarm Water would be part of the zeitgeist. we would get the most iconic Wayne picture above. Bape would even being the stem of a feud between Clipse and Cash Money of who really bought it to America first. The answer being Pharrell. Who said it in a song first? We don’t know. It just keeps producing great music.

Bathing Ape would Don Nike iconic Air Force 1 canvas never being sued either so Bape bad iteration after iteration better than anything Nike bought out at the time concerning the Air Force 1 Mould making Bathing Ape Bapesta part of the most iconic sneakers of all time having Kanye West Bapestas goon for upwards of $3000.

After Bape

Nigo would sell Bape to one of Japan’s biggest fashion conglomerates I.T and move on to Human Made and Billionaires Boys Club along with Pharrell. Now running his own music Label Toy’s Factory.

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

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Urahara Sanin – Kapital Code of Kiro Hirata, Make do and keep moving

We go again,

I remember giving into the hype and not knowing exactly anything about Kapital but the jeans/trousers as featured would see in my How I like My Denim in 2019. Ksubi, Undercover, Kapital, Evisu that was what I understood about Japanese style superb; when I ended up developing my repertoire of Understanding I saw that these fashion labels the denim was – namely Kapital and Undercover were more than Japanese denim houses; they had a code of creation.

Of the Three Sanin Kiro is the most unsung of the trio and it made more sense what I understood about him he made it that way almost.

A short bio on Kiro

The traveller in the wind that explores creates and moves on Kiro along with his team create clothing for those that live by this credo, the gypsy style of design.

When you Understand Kiro you understand Kapital, there not much out there on Kapital in English so allow me to fill in some of the gaps. Before streetwear became the most continental there is a style that still thrives in the fabric of Japan that of the American Native, those that will use patters and patchwork, layered style in the summer and winter the codes of the style call for volume layers rustic views a salt of the earth character that lives by that ideal.

This ideal curated by Kiro became Kapital as you know it today, the iconic Ring Coat, 45rpm Collection, Boro Jeans all come with these codes. Kapital keeps that feeling of The American Native style alive for the past 20+ years it’s alive and thriving. Putting Kiro as part of the Sanin the traveller team of Kiro Nicole and Eric put together that story through imagery and clothes.

We’re learning more of – Whatever Moves Your Dial

Damilare. Not Your Typical

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Urahara Sanin: The Bridge of culture from Soho to Harajuku— The perspective of a London Millennial

We go again,

prelude

I started this blog in December 2018, I just wanted to take my time with it and it’s so intensive with information I’m starting to understand where this is taking me. More importantly

The ascension of local artist and people into the mainstream light is a tough and arduous one, one so tough it’s likened to a heroes journey and people are made idols because of it. What does one do when they reach the grand stage? A place where people perform at the highest calibre. How does an artist use this responsibility at the grand stage? And in which ways can this new responsibility be used to inspire the next generation?

A 90’s Baby Purview

I’ve got a story to tell a story of the men who constructed the silk lined highway from the Japan to the United States which I peered up at through my telescope from my bedroom in London. The culture that’s far from mine but is blended together by stands of very great artist who reach amazing heights and magnified those that were only in the peripheral of the culture. I’m talking about none other than Pharrell & Kanye West.

Names you have heard more than once & for good reason, truly paved the way traversed a road untraveled to create a genre of style that is synonymous with hip-hop and black America, typically unslanderible. Good thing this isn’t a slander blog, it’s about the joining of Japanese art and hip-hop inspired clothing meshed with hip-hop artists creating harmony and exposing a whole new generation to the joys of Japan.

Mainly for me, my exposure to Japan was Dragonball Z – before I even knew what anime was – the cartoons stood to influence me for 20 years to come. As I sought greater storytelling faculties I was drawn closer and closer to the world of anime and the fashion it inspired the youth I grew up with; all over the UK and America, it can even be seen as a unifying factor.

Early era Fashion

We were already indoctrinated into the idea that Japanese art is high art and it only got reinforced with the streetwear brand known as Bape. Pharrell williams and Nigo would influence the youth in the most dramatic way we’ve seen with things we could not afford so these things had a sense of luxury to us it wasn’t streetwear it really was the most fine of garments even then. Nigo and Pharrell will go on to produce Ice Creams and Billionaires Boys Club of which I would cop from.

Teenage Years

My peers was given Kanye. I wasn’t so fond of Kanye these days not until MBDTF I was still a hardcore rap fan there were some good tunes on all the albums but I never heard anything like Fantasy before and that what made me gravitate towards him. What he did do was give us great character animation but what I did notice was the unusual teddybear where I would later find out was a collab with Virgil and Murakami, even then it was high concept and fused with Japanese essence.

Their denim was what I was aware of Evisu and ksubis I don’t know why but I was well aware of Japanese denim the story escapes me I just know Ed Hardy Avirex only later would I discover Undercover and Kapital but evisu and Ksubi was on the map and putting men in more quality garments out doing Levi for a moment before the end of the skinny jeans era

Recent History

You have Ian Connor and Luka Sabbat and the Donda team changed the landscape of fashion from 2010. Seeping our of the music and into the cultural fabric of streetwear. As Facebook groups for fashion became a thing, soho became the runway and the street kids of Europe started to develop a voice the ever living holy land for street wear known as the Urahara Movement in the backstreets of Harajuku became a beacon for all those that aspired to the level of luxury that was Raf Simons tenure at Dior, Galliano, Jeremy Scott Undercover, Kapital, induced by yeezy, off white, Heron Preston and Pyrex 23 and hbx

Our history of streetwear is not just the kid of hip hop but of punk & grunge, Rock & Roll, the kids forgotten by the fashion houses who ended up being represented by the people they adored secondly and those that spoke to them.


Editor Note

The ethics of streetwear will always remain a subculture ethic. If there’s a forgotten class there will always be something great that is bred by the need and someone who comes from there but sees into the future.

For 30 years Streetwear has remained consistent overtime catering to those that needed it and didn’t need to grow out of it. Now in the time of the great information distribution the stories are all interlinked; kids that listened to steely dan speak the same language of clothing as those that listened to Snoop Dogg through fashion. It’s the great I know.

I love it

Whatever Moves Your Dial

Damilare. Not Your Typical

Follow my socials

Instagram: @nytypical Twitter: @nytypical Facebook: fb.me/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