If Yohji Yamamoto is the king of Japanese streetwear, then Jun Takahashi would surely be one of the princes.

Along with A Bathing Ape‘s Nigo in 1993, Takahashi co-founded a store in Harajuku called Nowhere, which laid the foundations of Jun’s current brand Undercover. Since then, Undercover has gone on to become one of the most influential Japanese streetwear brands, inking collaborative deals with Supreme, while Jun’s ongoing Gyakusou partnership with Nike was one of the first to imagine performance running gear with fashionable color blocking.

The New York Times sat down with the Japanese pioneer to profile his brand Undercover, and his personal life in Tokyo. Check out some of our favorite quotes below.

…he used to be in a Sex Pistols homage band called the Tokyo Sex Pistols.

“Takahashi’s nickname is Jonio, after Johnny Rotten, whom he channeled in his youth as the lead singer in a punk tribute band, the Tokyo Sex Pistols.

…he attended the same school as other famous Japanese designers.

“After school in Kiryu, Takahashi went to Bunka Fashion College in Tokyo. Yohji Yamamoto had gone there in the late ’60s, Tsumori Chisato in the mid-’70s and Junya Watanabe in the early ’80s.”

…when designing his collections, he always starts with the shoes.

“Each season, he is methodical: His sketchbooks begin with shoes, because they take the longest to make. The system was borne of necessity, not creativity. ‘‘I don’t want to begin with shoes,’’ Takahashi says plaintively.”

…he remains very close with his family.

“His parents go to Paris every season, and sit in the front row — they’ve never missed a show.’’ His younger brother, who has taken over the family business in Kiryu, now comes to Undercover two days a week to help manage the business, a skill Takahashi confesses he lacks. His daughter has started modeling.”

…he keeps a rigorous running schedule.

“Initially, it was suggested that we conduct the interview during one of his thrice-weekly 10-kilometer runs.”

Read the full interview on The New York Times.

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  • Main & Featured Image: The New York Times

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