undercover thesoloist
by Stephen Garner
undercover thesoloist
Jun Takahashi | Photo: Yoshie Tominaga, Takahiro Miyashita | Photo: Takao Oshima

Japanese fashion labels Undercover and Takahiro Miyashita-The Soloist have been named as a special guest designer at Italian trade show Pitti Uomo 93, which will take place January 9-12 in Florence. The two labels will present their fall/winter 2018 men’s collection at a special presentation on Thursday, January 11.

“Undercover will be back in Florence after nearly nine years,” said Lapo Cianchi, Pitti Immagine director of communications and events, “along with Takahiro Miyashita-The Soloist. For the first time ever these two visionary Japanese designers, who also happen to be great friends, will stage back-to-back shows that will serve as a symbolic expression of not only their friendship but also of the mutual respect for one another’s work.”

While studying fashion at Tokyo’s Bunka Fashion College, Jun Takahashi started Undercover. Along with Nigo of A Bathing Ape, they opened the iconic store Nowhere in Tokyo’s Harajuku district, known for its experimental fashion. There, Takahashi pioneered the merging of streetwear and fashion design, strongly influenced by youth culture. In 2010, Takahashi became the first fashion designer to collaborate with Nike on a multi-seasonal basis with his Gyakusou line of running gear. He has also collaborated with Uniqlo. In 2015, Undercover celebrated its 25th anniversary with a major retrospective museum exhibit in Tokyo.

Takahiro Miyashita, who has no formal fashion training, began designing by deconstructing and reconstructing clothes when he was a teenager. After doing some design work for the popular Tokyo store Nepenthes in Harajuku, he launched his first line, Number (N)ine in 1996. He began showing his menswear in Paris in 2003 to wide critical acclaim. Miyashita’s clothes were infused with influences from American youth culture, rock music ranging from the Beatles to Nirvana and Nine Inch Nails, and the films of Gus Van Sant, all filtered through his unique design lens. After leaving Number (N)ine in 2009, Miyashita started TheSoloist in 2010.

Added Cianchi: “We are very happy that Jun Takahashi, who has been at the forefront of the fashion avant-garde for more than twenty-five years, considers Pitti Uomo to be the only stage for his menswear shows. As to Takahiro Miyashita-The Soloist, this will be his Pitti Uomo debut that we have been looking forward to for two reasons. First, because we have always held Miyashita’s previous fashion shows for his first label, Number (N)ine, in high regard, and second, because this will be the first show of Takahiro Miyashita-The Soloist outside of Japan. We believe that independently of each other, Takahashi and Miyashita – with their personal inspiration, design, styling, and uncompromising production methods – are extraordinary figures on the contemporary fashion scene. And we are very happy to provide a platform for expressing their longstanding friendship that stems from their shared cultural and social backgrounds, starting from Tokyo’s street punk scene and a passion for music.”