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Denim Fans Love Evisu Brand's Vintage Look (October 19, 2005)

The Evisu seagull logo
A high-end Japanese jeans brand with a vintage sensibility is building a fan base among discriminating denim wearers all over the world. Evisu Jeans are readily identified by the stylized seagull logo painted on the back pocket. The man behind the label, Yamane Hidehiko, uses denim woven on old-fashioned looms to create a classic look and feel. Although the special material boosts the price of the jeans, this does not put off discerning fans, and Evisu jeans are flying off the shelves at boutiques around the world.

"The Rolls-Royce of Jeans"
The Evisu brand was established in 1991 in Osaka. Yamane's denim creations first caught on in Japan but are now becoming revered worldwide. Evisu jeans are currently sold at 25 outlets in Japan. Overseas, where they have been available since 1994, they are now carried by some 400 shops. Celebrity fans of the label include soccer star David Beckham, singer Beyonce Knowles, and rap artist Jay-Z. Evisu jeans retail for between ¥20,000 and ¥40,000 (about $180 to $360 at ¥110 to the dollar). The prices are backed by quality: So faithfully do the jeans mimic the character of vintage denim that their aficionados refer to them as "the Rolls-Royce of jeans."

Evisu jeans are made on old-style looms.

Evisu jeans embody the attention to detail of their creator. During the denim craze of the 1970s, denim began to be woven on a new type of power loom that achieved three to four times the productivity of earlier models. But this mass-produced fabric, with its smooth, uniform texture, held no appeal for Yamane, who preferred vintage American jeans from the 1950s. Seized by the notion of making jeans from fabric that had the stiffness and irregular surface of old-fashioned denim, Yamane assembled a collection of old-style power looms.

The Evisu label is named after a Shinto god worshipped in Japan since ancient times as one of the seven gods of good fortune. Symbolized by a big catch of fish and known specifically as the god of fishing, farming, and commerce, the choice of this deity expresses Yamane's entrepreneurial drive and fondness for fishing. Yamane's playful side comes through in the label of the jeans, which bears a likeness of the deity with a humorous expression on his face; and in the seagull logo, which is painted rather than stitched onto the back pocket.

A pair of Evisu jeans costs from ¥20,000.

Looking Good, Evisu Style
Denim woven on the old-fashioned looms has a loose weave and shrinks when washed. Therefore, Evisu jeans need to be purchased in a size two inches larger than the desired size. Repeated stretching and shrinking give the jeans a character that is unique to the wearer. Another appealing quality of Evisu jeans is that instead of fading to white over time, they take on a unique greenish tinge that highlights the fabric texture. The jeans are cut for a relaxed fit around the thighs, so even when sized to fit just right they feel roomy and drape over the body's contours in a distinctive manner. Some people take advantage of this unique cut by wearing the jeans on the hips and rolling them up; this mode has become known as "Evisu style." The Evisu label also offers other garments and accessories including caps (retailing for around ¥5,000, or $45), sweatshirts (about ¥15,000, or $135), and t-shirts (about ¥8,000, or $72), making it possible to put together an entire Evisu look. While many of the clothes feature motifs based on the trademark seagull, some are printed with the fishing god's likeness or with kanji characters.

Evisu's global success is an example of the Japanese fashion industry's increasingly high profile around the world.

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Copyright (c) 2005 Web Japan. Edited by Japan Echo Inc. based on domestic Japanese news sources. Articles presented here are offered for reference purposes and do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the Japanese Government.

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