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NIKE x UNDERCOVER presents “Running Monks”

Nike and Undercover founder and designer, Jun Takahashi, will come together once again to release its newest collection of high-performance running gear for Holiday 2011.  Merging the best in modern innovation such as advanced lightweight, waterproof, breathable materials and traditional craftsmanship, the third installment to the Nike x UNDERCOVER Gyakusou collection is rooted in a simple philosophy that is focused on fulfilling a crucial mission: To create the best running product that strikes the perfect balance between style and absolute functionality.

 To exemplify the characteristics of this collection, Takahashi and his running crew, GIRA (GYAKUSOU International Running Association) a small but dedicated group of Tokyo-based runners, gathered in the still thriving center of historic Japanese culture, the city of Kyoto, to capture the beauty and functionality of the Nike x UNDERCOVER Gyakusou Holiday 2011 Collection through a short film named, Running Monks.

Shooting in centuries old temples immersed in nature, the crew visited Tofuku-ji, a National Treasure of Japan, founded in 1236, and Kozan-ji, which is registered as an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Director and Art Director Tetsuya Nagato and Photographer Katsuhide Morimoto, frequent collaborators with Undercover and Takahashi, managed to obtain permission to shoot in some of Japan’s most significant and remarkable sites where, in general, you are not allowed to run inside

Takahashi designed the clothes with thoughtful details that diminish distraction and enhance the meditative quality of running while fitting perfectly in the classically Japanese environment.

The textures and colors used in the line suit the verdant setting ranging from variations of gray with bold pops of burnt orange. “From the 1st collection, I have a consistent concept on color. I pick the ones that blend well with the nature and the city at the same time, which is an important concept for Gyakusou,” says Takahashi. “During this shoot in Kyoto, I realize that the GYAKUSOU collection is representing these Japanese colors.”

 Reflecting the impressions of nature seen in the film, while, at the same time, the heather gray material is drawn from the world of men’s business wear, providing yet another contrast to the idyllic setting.  “It is often the case that high tech woven materials are used for running apparel. But I selected a material that looks like wool or heather, to blend the impression of sportswear and basic men’s business suits, focusing a lot on the texture of the material,” explains Takahasi.

 The Nike x UNDERCOVER Gyakusou Holiday 2011 performance running collection will be available October at select retailers globally.