At this point, most Grailed users are well aware of Takashi’s celebrated main line,
Undercover. Founded in 1993, the line began as a punk-centric streetwear imprint but has since transformed into one of the most critically acclaimed high-fashion labels in the world. Launched literally alongside BAPE, collaboration is ingrained in Undercover’s DNA, working with everyone from Supreme to Uniqlo). With a long history of collaboration and ample street cred, a Nike partnership was inevitable. Takahashi began working with the American sportswear giant in 2010, but surprisingly not via Undercover. The relationship began with the launch of Gyakusou, a technical running line that debuted in 2010. Interestingly enough, Gyakousou was a project with Takahashi himself, rather than the brand he founded. Literally translating to “running backwards,” the name is a reference for Takahashi’s—himself a passionate runner–penchant for running the “wrong” way on public running trails. The line was successful and apart from a three way collaboration with Fragment Design on the Nike Court Match in 2009, the relationship was simple enough. That was until 2017, when Undercover announced a Nike collaboration—the SFB Jungle Dunk—entirely separate from Gyakusou. Ever since, clothing has always been released under the Gyakusou imprint, while sneakers alternate between Gyakusou (aka Jun Takakashi x Nike) and staight up Undercover collaborations. With the release of the Undercover x Nike Daybreak, however, that’s all about to change.
Unveiled during the Undercover Spring/Summer 2019 runway show, the new sneaker is Takahashi’s take on the vintage runner. Initially debuted back in 1979, for the shoe’s 40th anniversary Takahashi gave it the Undercover treatment by accentuating the EVA midsole and adding what resembles an elongated plastic jaw at the heel. While anticipation for the sneaker began to build last June, Nike unexpectedly announced the first official Undercover x Nike clothing collection launching alongside the Daybreak. Entirely separate from Gyakusou, the new partnership combines Nike’s versatile fabrics with Undercover’s grotesquely beautiful ideals to create a collection that can literally transform with the wearer’s mood. Rather than focus on running, the new clothes are entirely rooted in proportion, using velcro straps, zips and buttons to instantly transform fit and drape—a feat only Nike and Undercover could achieve.
While the Undercover x Nike Daybreak is clearly the highlight, the ancilliary clothing capsule marks an entirely new chapter in Takahashi and Nike’s increasingly complicated relationship.
The Undercover x Nike Daybreak drops June 7th at select retailers worldwide. Expect the sneakers to hit the Hype marketplace shortly thereafter.