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April 6, 2007

Japanese Denim Brand Name Returns to the Source

evisu_store.gifThe company behind the iconic Japanese jeans brand name, Evisu, is opening its first store in Soho, New York City. I think it’s interesting to see a foreign fashion brand come back to the original source of its inspiration, Levi's.

3Yen, the Japanese Fashion blog, notes that these are often called the “Rolls Royce of Jeans,” and the company was founded in 1988 in Osaka by Hidehiko Yamane. The brand name was originally “Evis” but was changed to the much more Japanese-sounding and much less Elvis sounding “Evisu” in 1991, “though the pronunciation and phonetic representation in Japanese has never changed.”

evisu-jeans.gifThe logo is a stylized gull but looking at the pictures of the jeans on 3Yen I have to wonder if some less than fashion-conscious Americans might see a tipped over McDonald’s logo? I suppose one person’s gull is another’s golden arches.

The stores will not be retail outlets but centers of Asian culture and art and will offer customers the chance to “personalize their own denim”.

evisu_levis.gifI thought it was interesting that the Deluxe and Heritage offerings are made on “old shuttle looms” from the 1950s. (I wonder if Levi’s sold them to the company?)

It seems that personalizing the jeans means letting an artist in the store hand paint the logo, either a small one on the back pocket or an immense one that covers the entire garment. I think this is a great example of a company engaging the consumer with their brand.

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Posted by William Lozito at April 6, 2007 8:46 AM
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In that particular Evisu jeans, it does look like the golden

Anyway, the term "Rolls Royce of Jeans" was given to Evisu in reverence to the method each jeans are made and the quality to it is perhaps the best. Expensive and good - just like an old Rolls Royce car, eh? :)

Thank you for clarifying what was meant by “the Rolls Royce” of jeans.

It's an honor for Evisu to have built a brand name that's associated with the “Rolls Royce” of jeans.

If I'm not mistaken, the reason they changed the name to Evisu from Evis was because Evis was just Levi's with the 'L' taken off (and Levi's filed a suit against the company). The gull was/is an ode to the Levi's arcuate (the arc stitched onto the back pockets of Levi's). In Japan, Evisu are sold with a red tab on the back right pocket (another ode to Levi's). However, in the US, the red tab is removed because Levi's trademarked both the arcuate and the red tab. Levi's can and has filed suit against MANY jeans-makers that they deem to be infringing on their trademarks.

I think both of those reason are pretty true as to why Evisu changed their name, but to compare the two brands is like comparing a Mercedes to a Rolls Royce. Both are wonderfully nice cars that are well built. But only one of them stands out as the benchmark of ultimate luxury. Don't get me wrong, Levis still makes a pretty decent pair of jeans. But if you bought a pair of the real Evisus, which typically means a pair off the Heritage or Deluxe Lines, you'd see exactly what I mean. Even someone who didn't know anything about denim quality would immediately realize that Evisu are much better. I own about 12 pairs of them. Not because they're Evisus, or because I'm just following a fad like a lot of people are doing. I buy them because I feel they are rare works or art and clothing craftmanship at its finest. Believe me, anyone who appreciates quality clothing won't mind paying $400 for a pair of jeans that's going to last them forever!

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