“This ain't Diesel, n*gga, these is Evisu” --- Jay-Z, “Show You How”
Capping in at around $300 a pop, Evisu jeans are the denim of choice for many hip-hop artists. Certainly on the high-end of casual wear, considering it’s named after the Japanese Buddhist god of money, it has a reputation to live up to.
Evisu was born in Japan in 1991. The founder, and still the owner, of Evisu is Hidehiko Yamane. Yamane-san was trained as a tailor but his love for vintage jeans and his disappointment with the mass-produced modern versions led him firstly, to the vintage clothing import business and then, revolutionarily, to start putting together the elements required to reproduce vintage-style jeans.
The initial production line allowed only 14 pairs of jeans a day to be produced. Each pair was,
and still is, hand-painted with the now famous seagull logo. Although initially Evisu was more a labor of love than a commercial venture, Evisu jeans captured the imagination of the detail-obsessed, Japanese fashion crowd, spurring a revival of interest in vintage denim which has now spread around the world.
By 1999, a ladies fashion line called Evisu Donna was introduced to complete the development of Evisu as a full-fashion range going far beyond a jeans brand. Today, Evisu has 25 shops in Japan and is selling around the globe in 400 of the world's best boutiques and department stores. The line has expanded to include sportswear, luggage and shoes.
So what makes Evisu so special?
It’s all in the labor. All the machines that weave Evisu denim are practically antiques. No machine used to make Evisu has been reproduced for over 40 years. The weaving process of Evisu jeans goes back and forth. The result: a clean bottom edge instead of a frayed bottom that many brands stitch up to give the illusion of smoothness. Denim produced on such a loom is naturally irregular and these irregularities come out as the jeans fade, making every pair develop into a unique and beautiful pattern as it fades. Secondly, all of the denim is indigo dyed by loop dying machines. As a result of all this and a host of other details relating to every raw material and process, Evisu jeans cost many times the price of normal jeans to produce.
While some may not need this level of craftsmanship in a pair of jeans, Evisu believes it’s worth every penny.
Watch out for counterfeits
Unfortunately, counterfeit Evisus have swept the market. Wondering if your pair is real? Well, Evisu offers free validation service. If you are unsure about the authenticity of an Evisu item, a shop or a website, email the Evisu company at firstname.lastname@example.org with the details of your concern.