A Brief Conversation With Takanori Enami – Design Director of Evisu

Takanori Enami Evisu Designer

Takanori Enami

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.

Takanori Enami Evisu Designer


Rawr Denim: 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 stocktargeted 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.

Paul Travi

Paul Travi

Paul's first experience with raw denim was at the age of 10 when his parents purchased him a pair of raw Lee Jeans. After many years, he found the very same pair of jeans in the U.S. and since then his interest in denim became a passion. Now based in Holland, Paul is constantly researching and experimenting with the amazing fabric.

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  • kai

    Hello rawrdenim I have been a fan of your site for some time now keep up the good work . I love raw selvedge jeans as much as the next man but I think there can be to much hype and marketing on “selvedge” my first ever pair was evisu back in 1997 just because they were different from all other brands I know the painted pockets were not to everyones taste but back then they stood out unfortunately I have not owned a pair since . When does jeans become mass produced ? Is there a limit to how many jeans a brand makes before it is classed as mass manufacturing ? And what if a one man brand is not one man anymore but still trades as if it were ? Should the price of the jeans reflect this ?

    • s3s

      Evisu has many lines and styles of jeans, not just raw selvedged jeans. I saw my jeans being hand made/painted from the workers at their headquarters in Osaka and paid about $230 USD for their No,2 Lot2001. What really does kill Evisu was that when they became hot in the mid 2000’s and still to this day, importers jack the price up at least $100+. If you buy any of their No.1 or No.2 jeans the quality reflects the price. Anything else is not worth it, same thing as Trues or R&R. *Note Evisu has non-raw selvedge at high prices*

  • Richalicious

    someone should have told him to lay off the joints before the pics were taken…. he totally looks baked :)
    oh, and good interview btw !

  • Djdkdj

    A very “famous” brand..maybe doing a collab with naked and famous??

  • Devan Prithipaul

    Good article, I’m not a big fan of Evisu personally, a bit too showy for me but I like these interviews. Maybe one with Oni or Samurai, or even Momotaro would be really nice.Sounds like he’s doing a collab with n&f, that would be interesting.

    • n&f ambassador

      please, for the love of God, stop mentioning n&f!

      • Lhite

        Calm down dude, he can say whatever he wants. It says famous so it makes sense it would be naked and famous

  • Vinatge EVIS Lover

    Seems like he is really pushing the 2008 model (terrible cut imo) The only good pair coming out of Evisu International were the wrangler greencast brown boxes and the lee lazy S models from about 4-5 years ago. Everything else they have released has been rubbish

  • Ola Hung

    As much as I love NF and Evisu, I’m not tooo sure if that would be their collabo partner. Evisu isn’t even sold in North America anymore.

    It would be hella dope if they did though. Would not mind a pair of Evisu genes in a skinny guy fit.