UNDERCOVER x WTAPS Collab ’22: Release Date

Here are the new beginnings! After more than two decades, Ura-Hara OGs UNDERCOVER and WTAPS finally come together for a collaborative group, starting in 2022 on a strong note.

Jun Takahashi and Tetsu Nishiyama, founders of UNDERCOVER and WTAPS, were both active in the primordial street fashion scene of ’90s Harajuku, mingling with influential peers like NIGO and Hiroshi Fujiwara while forming a taste for the emerging subculture of punk, hip-hop, and Western clothing companies like Stüssy. .

Takahashi officially launched UNDERCOVER in 1993 after spending a few years working with various creative outlets (including NOWHERE, the store he opened with NIGO) while Nishiyama was collaborating with the Harajuku gang for a while, finally introducing WTAPS in 1997.

Although Takahashi quickly took his brand to the runways of Paris and beyond—with a little help from mentor Rei Kawakubo—Nishiyama was happy to focus on clothing development, meticulously reproducing and modernizing decades-old military clothing.

In the end, UNDERCOVER became one of the first companies to succeed in the fields of street fashion and so-called “high fashion”, selling their wares in both independent retailers and international retail conglomerates and attracting many people to interest in “Japanese street fashion”.

Meanwhile, WTAPS spent the first few years of its existence developing some high-spec military apparel on the market, eventually embracing a more fluid feel in newer collections.

His early designs are still coveted by collectors, with Nishiyama now tackling a different market with both contemporary WTAPS and the casual clothing line, Descendant.

Back in the early 2000s, UNDERCOVER and WTAPS were enjoying the fruits of their quick successes and teamed up to get some cooperative goods.

They released T-shirts, jackets, cargo pants, and other staples that combined the spirit of each brand—nothing fancy by today’s standards but that’s what I did in the Ora Hara days.

Now, more than twenty years later, the couple is back at it, preparing to launch a new joint effort on January 8, 2022.

About a week and a half later, UNDERCOVER and WTAPS teased what appeared to be a brief collaborative capsule on Instagram, consisting of a hat, coat, jacket, hoodie, adjustable zip-up pants, and at least high-cut sneakers.

Filled with “ONE ON ONE” motifs, the navy blue designs feel like a throwback to the good old days and more akin to a shared statement of respect. A worthy consideration given how far they have come.

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