In the late 80’s, a small society of vintage denim devotees in and around Osaka, took their love of American heritage denim and, anticipating the collapse of the vintage market, decided to do it on their own. The brands that emerged are the Osaka 5 - the vanguard of the revitalization of selvedge denim.
The Osaka 5 revolutionized the denim world and are responsible for both the vintage jeans boom of the 90’s and the preservation of the American heritage craft of blue jeans - built to last and worn for life.
Previously working at Lapine (with Mr. Yamane of Evisu), designer Mikiharu Tsujita wanted to go in a different direction and in 1992 started Full Count to pursue it. While Evisu developed into a fashion brand and other Osaka 5 members dove deep into the archives of workwear, Tsujita’s interest remained in the decade that married the Machine Age with old world craftsmanship - the period when denim transitioned from its workwear roots to the blue uniform of rebel culture.
Taking to the design table his collection of Levi’s 501XX (1947-1953) leather patch classics, Tsujita determined to figure them out. What was it that made them so much better?
Importing one of the original shuttle looms used by Levi’s in the 60’s solved the problem of correcting the weave, but the magic formula was in the cotton fibers themselves. The significant rise of industrial harvesters in the 50’s had shortened the fiber staples and introduced imperfections that resulted in flatter, weaker jeans with less life. Full Count sought only the original merit.
To solve this, Tsujita scoured the globe and discovered a cotton industry in Zimbabwe, still picked by hand, that preserved the integrity of the fiber. The cotton is very similar to 1940’s American cotton and produces a soft, yet sturdy hand.
Full Count was one of the pioneers to introduce Zimbabwe cotton to the industry, a revolution in the heritage market that is used commonly today. Because the fiber length is thin and long, it is possible to make a more durable, uneven thread with little margin at the seams. The yarns clearance leads to a lightness and stretch that’s like a second skin and wicks moisture away.
While most jeans use polyester threads at the seams, Full Count uses only cotton, fading with the jeans. A total of twelve different kinds of yarn are used for each pair to ensure unrivaled durability and comfort. Not pre-shrunk, Full Count denim is worn-in to individual perfection.
These are jeans that honor the culture and construction of America’s heritage blue gold.