With it’s name inspired by Japanese folklore, Evisu was founded in 1991 and have been in operation now for more than 20 years. They proclaim to not only have initiated the denim replica movement around the world but also be one of the first brands to introduce Japanese premium denim to the western world.
Founder, Hidehiko Yamane, took it upon himself to paint the first jeans in production with their signature seagull and daicock logos back in 1991. At the time, Evisu was producing just 14 jeans per day on the old looms which, coupled with the artisan handcraft, was enough to gain Evisu a crazy legion of fans.
Since then, many things have changed for the once niche company. While their popularity grew, so did the number of knockoffs counterfeiting their wares. The decision was then made for Evisu to relaunch in 2009 with Scott Morrison as the new CEO and Creative Director.
While Morrison soon went on to pursue his current venture, 3×1, the roots of Evisu have always held strong in Japan. To get a specific sense of the company’s direction and impact in Europe, we had a quick chat with Takanori Enami, Design Director of Evisu.
Heddels: How accepted are the Seagull and the Daicock logos in the conservative European market?
Takanori Enami: Those logos are loud and everybody can see it from behind. It is for those people who have many jeans and feel quite tired of the normal jeans and want something special. It is a very strong call from our brand.
RD: Which is the most popular Evisu fit in Europe?
TE: That would be the 2008 fit, which is a straight cut. The Seagull is present as usual.
RD: Which country in Europe is the best Evisu consumer?
TE: I think that must be England, because we have a flagship shop there.
RD: In your opinion, what are the most popular cuts generally?
TE: That would be the 2000 and 2008 cuts. 2000 is wide open and loose and 2008 is straight. Both sell really well, specially in the chinese market.
RD: Evisu is well know for the hand painted jeans which are very popular in Japan. As Europe is more conservative with their jeans, are hand painted jeans more difficult to sell?
TE: Evisu is the only one doing this hand painting pockets at the moment. It is very costly obviously if you compare it with the normal printing, even with embroidery, so the price can get higher. There are always people, Evisu fans, who just like their jeans hand painted. There is always a market.
RD: Which would be your personal choice from the 2013 collection be?
TE: That would be the 2008 made in Japan. This pair is made with Kibata denim.
RD: What are the types of raw denim that Evisu are using in the currently collections?
TE: Evisu have three different lines. The first one is based in hybrid jeans, targeted to young beginners, for this we use chinese selvedge denim. The price is not high and they are quite accessible. On the other hand, we have private stock, targeted to middle aged people with more denim experience. For this we use high-end Japanese denim, very heavy and more expensive expensive.
RD: What are your inspirations when designing a pair of jeans?
TE: Well, we have to see new inspiration every season. I travel a lot, so mainly when I’m in the airplane, suddenly ideas come to my mind. Yes, it is always in the airplane (laughs).
RD: Is Evisu planning some collaborations for 2013?
TE: Yes, we have some plans to make some collabs, but unfortunately I can’t say with who, just that is a very famous brand.