Undercover x Tokyo

Posted by Alex

Well this wasn’t a hard decision: Undercover is officially my favorite clothing store in Tokyo. The SS/10 collection is based on the work of Dieter Rams, using the motto “Less but Better” to guide the design. Need I say more? I walked in and saw rows of Vitsoe shelving and was sold immediately. Then I saw Snow White’s coffin, an old Braun catalog, and basically every object Dieter Rams had ever designed. Eventually I realized there were also clothes for sale and I had to take a seat to collect myself. Of course I found myself sitting on the 620 Chair.

We make noise, not clothes. – Jun Takahashi and Undercover.

So obviously I’m a fan of the overall aesthetic and ethos of the store. My one complaint was, as much as I loved the clothes (and I did), absolutely nothing fit me. Of course I became frustratingly used to this in Tokyo. Would have loved to pick something up; though I did search long and far to find their 2010 lookbook as a consolation prize. They had a display copy in-store, which I pleaded for in broken Japanese, but they wouldn’t part with it. Every book store in Tokyo was the same — it wasn’t until the last place I tried where the guy told me I could just grab one on This is true, but you need to create a new account and shipping ends up costing about double the book itself. I have one on the way and will let you know if it’s worth it. From what I remember, it is.

Cheers to the sales guys there for letting me take so many pictures. Pretty tough thing to do in Tokyo; most places will freak out and lock you down if you pull out a camera. Not sure why, free publicity as far as I’m concerned. Anyway these guys were really nice and made a special “exception” for me — I think because they felt bad that literally the entire line didn’t fit me.

– A nice write up on the collection can be found here.
– Jun Takahashi’s blog on Honeyee
A Blog, curated by Jun Takahashi

Check out more pictures after the jump!

17 Comments Leave A Comment


Neil says:

June 10, 2010 at 12:52 am

I assume your problem with the clothes was they were to small? I’m going to Japan in a few months and I’m quite short so I’m hoping to find some decent stuff. Although I find the small sizes of the clothing line at Muji stores here in the UK to be quite big.


Emanuel says:

June 10, 2010 at 2:46 am

It looks like the perfect store for me! A fan of Rams’ design, thinking and approach, I don’t think I would be paying much attention to the clothes. A really good concept and idea, thanks for sharing.


Anonymous says:

June 10, 2010 at 5:54 am

Wow great captures. I love the post-processing! Willing to share any insight on your process?


alex says:

June 10, 2010 at 7:30 am

@ Neil – Yep, too small :( I am 6’5”, so it was kind of a pipe dream anyway that anything would fit.

@ Anonymous – Thanks! These have been post-processed a little, using Lightroom. I was shooting on neutral mode on the camera, so there was very little character present in the color when I brought them into the computer. You can see that their temperature is now quite cold; this is mainly a result of adding a little cool blue into the shadows. I’ve also brought the blacks up a bit and desaturated the whole image a little. I recall altering the hues of specific colors too, but I don’t have my settings with me right now.


Harrison Boyce says:

June 10, 2010 at 10:20 am

Damn, I was just in Tokyo last week and totally missed out on going to the Undercover shop!! So bummed… Alex, your updates have been super good though. Stoked to see more!


Will says:

June 10, 2010 at 5:27 pm

Wow, how come nothing you buy nowadays has a great design aesthetic like this? It is just incredible. I wish my whole house has stuff like this in it….


Fritz says:

June 11, 2010 at 5:45 am

Love the undercover photos. I

What are you shooting with? Lens?

I am traveling to Tokyo in fall.
I just purchased a Canon 7D for the trip
and I am trying to decide what lens to get.

any travel/photo tips welcome.


Eri says:

June 11, 2010 at 6:28 am

hi, I am one of your big fan in Japan.
I used to learn in San francisco.
I attended AAU a little while although I had to back to Japan soon.
I work as designer. but I am not enough. so, I still learning.
your works encourage me!
I am very happy to hear that you enjoy Tokyo.
hopefully I’ll see you somewhere in Japan.


Curtis says:

June 12, 2010 at 3:10 am

Well done on discovering Undercover — it became my favorite retail space in Tokyo since the Rams/Vitsoe injection. The store was upgraded in July of last year with the 606 centerpiece and 620/621 micro-lounge downstairs and the big Braun hi-fi kit upstairs.. An easy date for me to remember, as Vitsoe engineers installed my 606 system the following day.

Last year’s faux-futurist Fall/Winter line looked absolutely perfect with the 606 — a testament of how effortlessly the 606 adapts to it’s surroundings,and a testament to Takahashi’s far-reaching sensibilities.

Your photos, excellent work.


Brandon says:

June 13, 2010 at 10:47 am


Really nice photos. I really like the tone of these images. When you say you added blue to the shadow in lightroom is that via split toning? Can you recommend any resources for folks trying to achieve a similar tone?