We take a look at the history and future of Jun Takahashi's Gyakusou collections
The latest drop from Gyakusou (pron. gee-yuk-sue) is right around the corner, and here @ TEMPO we thought it timely to bring you up to speed on the name so you can be educated before you cop.
Gyakusou is the collaboration of Nike and street fashion label Undercover (the label founded by legendary designer and fashion icon Jun Takahashi in the early '90's), on a twice yearly collection of running apparel and footwear. The Japanese are arguably the keenest runners on the planet, and 50 year old Takahashi is no exception, regularly putting up 10 miles around Tokyo's Yoyogi Park (shoutout to anyone who has cut laps of Yoyogi - if you see some guys running it counter-clockwise, aka the wrong way, it could be Takahashi and his boys. They regularly run the route in reverse - the English translation of Gyakusou is ‘running in reverse’).
“I run because running refreshes my mind and keeps me fit. But the meditative nature of running may be the biggest reason.”
The Gyakusou line debuted in 2010, and since then has tackled some iconic Nike footwear silhouettes, while also introducing a huge amount of new apparel styles - each of them highly considered and functional, and usually in Takahashi’s favourite earthy, understated tones. Over the years we’ve seen features like zip-off sleeves, packable hoods, and a series of pockets designed to keep your keys and your coins separate - so you can run in silence (I know, I know - no one carries coins anymore, but they’re still big in Japan. You can cop a Pocari Sweat and a can of BOSS coffee with 1 coin).
It would be fair to say that most Gyakusou collections have felt ahead of their time - until more recently when the street fashion world pivoted to running. It’s no longer just Takahashi looking to merge running performance and street style; Virgil Abloh seems to lean more heavily into running with every Nike collaboration - most recently with his take on trail running shoe, the Kiger 5. But is it just track nerds who are buying these statement pieces?
We spoke to Shawn Yates from street fashion boutique Supply, about the trend, “we’re seeing these big crossovers coming through now. People aren’t 'just runners' or 'just fashion kids' - they can be both. We definitely see a mix for these types of releases - the customers aren’t all runners but some of them are.”
"When we had the Off-White Kiger release we had groups of trail runners in the lineup - they wouldn’t typically fit the lineup for most of our releases, but it’s cool to see those worlds crossing over.”
Shawn Yates, Supply
We did mention that there was a new Gyakusou drop around the corner, so let’s get to it. Takahashi and the boys are taking things off road for this collection, with a range of utilitarian apparel built for the dirty stuff, paired with a new take on Nike’s latest offroader, the Pegasus Trail.
There are two colours of the Pegasus Trail in the Gyakusou line up - one in the now familiar earthy yellows Takahashi favours, and a red/white/blue colourway.
Both shoes feature some cool aesthetics such as the rose insignia (the rose represents 'chaos and balance' - a long held principle of Undercover) and ‘Gyakusou went the distance’ on the toebox, but it goes beyond that. The shoes feature a new lace lock system (the same one Gyakusou used on the Pegasus Turbo earlier in 2019) and synthetic suede and leather overlays.
The tongue also features some coarse sections along the top, which look like they're designed to help keep the tonuge from slipping at all during the run.
Simply - it’s a lot more shoe than the standard Pegasus Trail and a good option if you're happy to spend the extra $50 AUD.
The apparel is obviously where Takahashi and his team have more room to create - normally the footwear is the hero of any collaboration but in this collection the apparel is definitely the highlight. A couple of pieces in particular caught our eye, the main one being a half-zip rain jacket that is packed full of features.
Gyakusou stuff always has interesting pockets, but this jacket puts them front and centre - literally. The first thing you notice is the centre pocket, which is transparent and water resistant (legit unless you run underwater, nothing is getting wet inside this pocket) - great for holding your metro pass or a few yen for that post run Asahi you’re always having.
There’s a similar pocket on the back with a zip closure.
Given this is a rain jacket, it also features a packable hood. I like the option of a hood, but more often than not it just kind of flaps about near the back of your head and gets annoying - so having the option to get rid of it is handy.
The back of this jacket is strong - strong enough to make people both mad and jealous when you pass them on a run.
One other detail I like are the extended sleeves. Rather than needing to wear gloves with your jacket on frosty mornings, the extended sleeves allow you to cover your knuckles (complete with thumb hole) and keep the chill off your hands, without the need for gloves (which let’s be honest, you’ll probably want to take off after 10 minutes anyway).
Finally, you’ll notice great ventilation throughout the jacket, and not just because of the half zip design. Airflow is a big thing in jackets - not enough and you feel like a rice paper roll, too much and you have to add layers. This piece has ventilation front and back, so it shouldn’t sweat up like some jackets.
It’s not just the jacket we’re hyped on - there’s a full apparel range in two colours (to match the kicks) you can delve deep into. Supply are the exclusive stockist of the apparel range (and one of only two stores getting the shoes) so be sure to hit up their Sydney or Melbourne stores on Thursday September 26 for your chance to cop.