Evisu or Evisu Genes is a Japanese designer clothing company that specializes in producing premium denim wear through traditional, labor-intensive methods.
The brand was formally founded in 1991 in Osaka, Japan, by Hidehiko Yamane although the research and planning necessary to reproduce the perfect pair of vintage jeans had been going on for several years prior to this. Yamane 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 export business and then, revolutionarily, to start putting together the elements required to reproduce vintage-style jeans. This needed the gathering together of various bits of machinery, none of which had been produced for the last 40 years, which are required to make authentic vintage jeans.
The initial production line allowed about 14 pairs of jeans a day to be produced and each of them was lovingly hand-painted with the now famous seagull logo (Kamome) by Yamane himself. Evisu (also written as Evis or Ebisu) is the name of the Japanese folk god of money who is usually portrayed with a fish and a fishing rod. His name was selected for the new venture as money and fishing are two of Yamane's five favorite things (the others being beer, women and golf - in no particular order).
Although initially Evisu was more a labour 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 across the world. In the early 90's Yamane introduced a tailoring line, followed by fishing and golf lines. In 1999, he introduced a ladies fashion line called Evisu Donna to complete the development of Evisu as a full-fashion range going far beyond a jeans brand. Evisu now has 65 shops in Japan.
In March, 2006, the company and Yamane was reported to Tokyo District Public Prosecutor's Office along with another firm on suspicion of tax evasion. Yamane and the two firms stand accused of concealing more than 500 million yen of income as well as evading some 160 million yen in taxes over three years.
In 2009, Evisu went through a relaunch and Scott Morrison, the co-founder of both Paper Denim & Cloth and Earnest Sewn, was added to the Evisu team as CEO and creative Director.