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Nike Gyakusou

Pro: Direct Running has been given access to a limited-edition Nike Gyakusou collection. Featuring a revamped Nike Pegasus Turbo, Transform Jacket and matching cap, this latest collection continues the Japanese brand’s history of innovation and industry-leading style.

We caught up with sneaker guru, Joel Stoddart from The Drop Date, to get a bit more background of Jun Takahashi’s collaboration with Nike and delve a little deeper into the exciting new collection.

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PDR: Can you give us a bit of background on the Jun Takahashi?

Joel: My personal knowledge of Jun Takahashi and his brand UNDERCOVER stems from his days of running the NOWHERE Store in Tokyo with NIGO (previously of A Bathing Ape) back in 1993, selling each other’s respective brands side by side. After kicking off UNDERCOVER in 1990, Jun started up punk-influenced AFFA with Hiroshi Fujiwara in 1994, which featured as a three-way collaborative piece in the first GYAKUSOU collection.

PDR: How did the collaboration with Nike come about?

Joel: Nike's collaborative collection with Jun Takahashi kicked off in 2010 through a shared passion for running and functional products, combining Jun's fine eye for detail and function with Nike's continuous drive for innovation.

PDR: What are your thoughts on the product that has come out of the Gyakusou brand?

Joel: When the debut collection released, I was very impressed as it was completely different to any of the running gear that I'd previously seen from other brands. It looked simple, yet you could tell that a lot of thought and consideration had gone into it. The fact that you can get away with wearing most pieces for casual wear is an extra selling point too.

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PDR: Do you usually see a lot of excitement ahead of a new drop from Gyakusou?

Joel: There are definitely groups of people around the world that get excited to see new GYAKUSOU drops. I personally feel that a few of the previous seasons have felt a little too safe, but the bold colour-blocking and choice of silhouettes in this collection has regained the interest of myself and other fans of the line. The Vaporfly 4% Flyknit seems to have garnered a lot of interest from runners and non-runners alike.

PDR: Who is the product aimed at and what makes it so appealing?

Joel: I believe that the product is aimed at the style-conscious, casual runner; someone who appreciates the finer details in a garment and runs for serenity and general fitness rather than for competitive reasons.

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PDR: Can we discuss the links between running and fashion, particularly sneaker culture and why you feel they are so strong?

Joel: Wearing running and other performance-focussed trainers for casual wear has been a thing since my Dad was a kid. I remember him showing me photos of him wearing Nike Challengers, circa 1979, and he definitely wasn't doing any running in them. Possibly one of the earliest examples of a running shoe getting adapted to cater to a non-performance audience is the Nike Night Track from 1978. Both Nike and adidas started to release trainers for ‘leisure’ around that time. Product placement within movies, popular TV shows and music videos in the 80s definitely helped to get performance-wear onto the bodies of people that may have never played any sports in their life, and even though brands may have changed their marketing formula over the years, sub-cultures and stylish individuals will always dictate what's cool to wear and what isn't.

PDR: What are your first impressions of Jun’s Pegasus Turbo?

Joel: I'm a fan. The standard Zoom Pegasus Turbo is a great looking shoe but these look like they're ready for any situation. The first detail that sticks out to me is the toggle lace system – a very welcome upgrade. Nothing is more annoying than your laces coming undone just after your muscles have warmed up. Additionally, the extra panelling on the upper looks to be more durable, weather resistant and supportive than previous iterations of the model.

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PDR: Gyakusou have completed the look with some supporting apparel. The Transform Jacket is quite a standout piece for innovation and style. Can you talk us through the design of this?

Joel: The Transform Jacket is perfect for the unpredictable weather that we get in the UK. Being able to quickly switch from the wind- and water-resistant qualities of the outer shell to a breathable long-sleeve top (or vice versa) without feeling like you're being lumbered with an unwanted layer could prove to be a game changer.

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PDR: The lines between fashion and function are increasingly blurred, with collaborations like Nike Gyakusou moving further and further from what is perceived as traditional sportswear. Do you feel this reflects a change in the type of people who are running, and what the sport means to them?

Joel: I feel that the merging of the two make people feel less conscious about how they look when they're running, which has in turn got more people out of their comfort zone, running past neighbours and randoms with pride. The functionality found throughout the range gives you less to worry about, and who wouldn't want that?

A huge thank you to Joel and The Drop Date for their time. The limited-edition Nike Gyakusou collection is available now from prodirectrunning.com

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