For over six years, NikeLab has collaborated with Japanese fashion designer Jun Takahashi of Undercover on a line called Gyakusou. This week, the pair unveiled their latest collection in the form of a holiday range focused on the flow and motion.
“We have a really good rhythm,” Jarrett Reynolds, the Senior Design Director of NikeLab Apparel told Complex in a phone interview Tuesday before heading to Tokyo to work with Takahashi on their Spring 2018 assortment. “It goes kind of like clockwork: First I take him through our newest technologies from [Nike Running]. Jun is a real runner, so I ask him what he’s been experiencing in his life of the sport.” From there, the Undercover founder selects what from Nike’s arsenal he wants to work with and works with the team to create a collection.
“[For holiday] we sat down and talked about flow motion,” Reynolds said. For Takahashi, that meant looking at running as a meditative state. To that end, this season’s pieces attempt to offer as few hindrances to the process of running as possible. “We wanted to create gear that would not be restricting and not be distracting from your run, that would allow you to get into this idea of running meditation.”
“Imagine having your jacket, and as you’re running, you get hot, and you want to take your jacket off,” Reynolds explained. “Normally, you’d take it off and pack it into a little pouch. All the while, you’re being conscious and thinking, and it’s distracting you from your run.” To circumvent that sort of distraction, the new line features a pair of utility tights replete with a back pocket. That pocket, which is actually a power mesh tube, can hold everything from a jacket to a pair of shades. In fact, the sleeves from the collection’s Aeroloft jacket zip off and can be easily stuffed into the back pocket mid run, interrupting the flow as little as possible. That ripping comes courtesy of a new QuickBurst zipper technology implemented in the line, which is a first for Nike. Those sort of tweaks are what make the collaboration special.
“When we work best in Gyakusou, we are working closely with our partners in running. We always like to do a Gyakusou remix,” Reynolds, who has also worked on company collaborations with Riccardo Tisci and Kim Jones, says. To wit, when the team set about making the track suit of the future, they incorporated a newly-engineered knit the Nike team had been working on. Adding thumb holes, perforation under the arms for ventilation, and a 3-way stretch in the body, replete with waterproofing and breathability, give the piece its utilitarian aspects. Articulating the sleeves and adding a reflective print on the sides that is based off of Takashi’s own arm tattoos adds some fashion forward appeal.
Other integral components? The AeroReact fabrication used in a half-zip hoodie and the zip-off jacket. “That is technology that our running team came up with after years and years of trials,” Reynolds explained. “On a microscopic level, the yarn adapts and opens up depending on moisture. If you’re sweating, on a microscopic level, the yarns will adapt and become more open. That allows it to wick away moisture and thermoregulate.” Even the line’s sneakers get a bit of a tech upgrade, as one of the first pairs of Flyknit styles to feature a water repellant bootie, as well as coating on the yarn itself to make the entire shoe water repellent.
The line comes rounded out with a Dri-Fit tee, two pairs of tights, and the FlyVent short. Reynolds finds beauty in the Dri-Fit Utility tights in particular. “The pockets that are on that are really beautiful,” he said. “The whole piece is actually kind of perfection to me. The front pocket is done in this laser cut inset 3-D way. It’s so difficult to explain and complicated to create, but how it manifests in real life is so beautiful and simple.”
The full range will be available November 10.