We recently reported that Scott Morrison, formerly of Paper Denim &Cloth and Ernest Sewn Jeans was appointed CEO of Evisu. Well we couldn’t be more excited here at eModa and we want to share all of our knowledge with you. We recently found an interview with Scott Morrison conducted by the people over at denimology (special thanks you guys).
He talks about his plans for evolving the image of Evisu but also staying true to what makes it the collectors brand that it is. What’s most important is he reassures the quality and integrity that has always been synonymous with his name and with Evisu. Here are some tid bits for you to read:
Q) With Paper Denim & Cloth and Earnest Sewn you were involved from the beginning, whereas with Evisu you are taking over an existing company. What challenges do you think there will be working with an existing brand rather than starting from scratch?
A) Undoubtedly there are challenges within every organization, and taking on an existing concept has it’s pros and cons, there’s no doubt. Evisu is an amazing brand however, with 20 years of history and being the pioneer of men’s premium denim gives me a lot of positives to work with. There’s an iconic brand story, a heritage identity and one of the most recognizable logos in the world. On the flip side, one of the obvious challenges will be managing the expectations of our existing customer. We’re going to be evolving the brand concept and pushing Evisu in a new direction, which will be very exciting for most, but might leave some consumers on the sidelines.
Q) When Evisu first launched they were really the only men’s premium brand around (in the UK at least). Now many years later the competition has become fierce – could you describe what plans you have to get Evisu noticed in a very crowded marketplace.
A) I first found Evisu in the late 90′s when it had started to come into it’s own outside of Japan … and yes, it was the first real premium denim brand in my opinion (although Diesel and Replay were making pretty amazing jeans for years), and Evisu in many respects paved the way for people like myself to create brands like Paper Denim & Cloth or Earnest Sewn. When it comes to our approach for today’s market I maintain the same principles I’ve subscribed to since I started my first company in 1999; focus our efforts on product quality, innovation and brand integrity, everything else will speak for itself.
Q) When Evisu first emerged it was seen as a fashion brand, then it seemed to become more of streetwear label. Any plans to change the way the brand is perceived and if so how will you go about that?
A) Absolutely. The unique thing about Evisu is that brand perception is different in every market. In the UK it has more of a streetwear presence, in Asia it’s very much a collectors brand. We’re going to consolidate those perceptions by speaking from one point of view going forward. This is a denim company at heart, it is a Japanese icon, and we will redirect our efforts on making some of the best denim and clothing products in the world.
Q) Evisu is known for its distinctive branding, whilst Earnest Sewn used a far more subtle approach. Do you think you will tone down Evisu’s branding?
A) Yes. I will definitely tone down the branding element and by that I mean specifically the use of the logo and its frequency. In recent years it’s been too heavily relied upon and I think it’s overshadowed the design of some of our products. This won’t be the case going forward and you can expect some examples to be found in the SS10 range as well as the complete collection come AW10. That being said, Evisu is not Earnest Sewn, and the logo itself is one of the things I love about this brand …
Morrison & PR guru Eleanor Ylvisaker in their Earnest Sewn days
Q) Earnest Sewn had very strong collections for both men and women, whereas Evisu is probably better known for its men’s denim. Can we expect to see an increased focus on the women’s side of the business.
A) Absolutely. One of the most exciting things for me about the opportunity at Evisu was the chance to inject a women’s denim component into the company. We’ve had a women’s range for a number of years but it was primarily sold only thru our retail stores. We will be launching a new women’s capsule for SS10 and a complete collection for AW10, both to be sold at wholesale which will be exciting for everyone.
Q) Evisu were one of the first brands to make Japanese denim available outside of Japan. You have stated that you intend to focus on the heritage of the brand, can we expect to see the jeans continue being manufactured there?
A) We will make Evisu products in a number of places (USA and Italy included), and my hope is that we’ll bring some production back to Japan very soon. We’ve been invited to work with a couple of amazing factories and laundries there, and obviously Evisu and I both have an affinity for Japanese denim so I’d expect to see it happen in the coming seasons.
Q) What is the relationship between the Japanese part of the company and the Global operation?
A) Evisu Japan owns the Evisu trademark for the Japanese market. We own the Evisu trademark for the rest of the world (everything outside of Japan). With regards to the relationship between the two companies, we have tremendous respect for Yamane and what he’s built in Japan. He’s a true inspiration and although we operate completely independent of Evisu Japan, both companies have the same philosophy and appreciation of quality and product integrity.
Q) With Earnest Sewn you had your uber-premium An Earnest Cut & Sew label – can we expect you see you doing something similar for Evisu?
A) What we’re doing with Evisu is actually reducing the number of collections, eliminating collections like Deluxe, EEE, Mainline, Heritage, etc. and redefining two: EVISU and Evisu Genes. Within the Evisu collection you’ll find a couple of smaller capsules however and those will be pretty amazing. The first being STYLECRAFT and the second being LABOUR. Stylecraft is a fashion capsule and Labour being more workwear inspired.
Q) Do you look to a particular scene or person for inspiration when designing a pair of jeans?
A) I’m always inspired by a number of things – fashion, people, architecture, a lifestyle; anything really. I do usually try to envision someone, a muse if you will, who would or could wear what I’m making though – my girlfriend perhaps, or a someone in a specific context (ie. hanging at the Smile Cafe in NYC or dancing at the Jane).
Q) What trends in denim do you see for Spring/Summer 2010?
A) For Evisu we’re re-envisioning our roots … resetting the clock and dialing it back to 1991. We’re loveing raw denim (of course) and a number of really amazing vintage inspired washes in our core selvege fabrics. We’ve updating the collection with four new low rise fits for men and reintroducing some old Evisu iconography such as original ‘Stylecraft’ hangtags and the ‘Labour’ workwear label as two examples.
Q) Is the myth true that Hidehiko Yamane bought an old Levis loom to weave the first pairs of Evisu?
I’m pretty sure that’s urban legend, but then again I have seen one …