Indigoshrimp is excited to feature another review by reproduction enthusiast beautiful_FrEaK.
This time he examines the Full Count 1108!
Words & photos by beautiful_FrEaK. Editing & formatting by indigoshrimp.
Probably this is common knowledge to most denimheads but it doesn’t hurt to cover it again.
Full Count is part of the Osaka 5 and was founded in 1992 by former Lapine employee and co-worker of Hidehiko Yamane, Mikiharu Tsujita.
First, Tsujita partnered with Yamane when Evis(u) was founded but left soon after to create his own brand according to his vision of the perfect jeans. In describing Full Count, Tsujita states it is a brand for the purist, clearly a different vision than Yamane’s Evisu with the painted gull and other quirky details.
Full Count was the first Japanese repro brand to use Zimbabwe cotton as this cotton, according to Tsujita, is closer to the cotton which was originally used in the 1950s for Levi’s jeans. The reasoning behind this is that Zimbabwe cotton is long staple cotton with only one crop per year. For Tsujita it’s very important that the denim is also comfortable, something you notice immediately when you step into a pair of Full Count jeans.
The pair in question here is the Full Count 1108 in their standard 13.7oz denim. The 1108 was first introduced in 1995 and is Full Count’s take on the Levi’s 501 from 1966, but it is not a true ’66 repro as all the details are still from the 1940s (but more on that later on).
The 1108 should resemble a Levi’s 501 from the late 1960s, so you would expect a slimmer pair of jeans with medium rise and a gentle taper. The 1108 indeed has a very slim top block. They are cut quite straight through the hips and have slim thighs. When you are about to choose your size for the 1108 always keep the thighs in mind and also the quite straight top block! The rise is medium with a slight tendency to high rise.
Many other Japanese brands design their 60s models with a quite strong taper, not so Full Count. You have a taper but it is gentle, especially when compared with the slimness of the upper legs.
Another thing to note about Full Count’s jeans is the placement of the back pockets which are spaced wider apart than most other brands. This has the advantage that you don’t completely sit on your wallet but it also might enhance the size of your butt. Especially in combination with the higher back rise this can result in a quite sloppy look from behind (worse on the 0105 and 1101 cuts)
Like I already mentioned, the denim clocks in at 13.7oz and is made of Zimbabwe cotton. With his flagship denim, Tsuijita wanted to create the feeling and look of 40s denim. Of course, it’s also unsanforized but can be bought raw or in one-wash state, whichever you prefer. The weft is natural and the warp is dyed with pure indigo (to my knowledge). The denim is woven by Shinya mills, based in Okayama.
The denim has a very hairy surface and (for me) the right amount of irregularities. You have small slubs here and there, a bit of loom chatter and combined with the hairiness and weight of the denim you really get the feeling of owning some vintage Levi’s from the 40s/50s.
Thanks to the Zimbabwe cotton and the way the denim is woven, you will experience a fairly soft denim which is very comfortable to wear and you wouldn’t want to pull off again. The surface of the denim still has a rough hand though. Full Count is not known for high contrasted fades and because of the softness of the denim, this is harder to achieve, but still doable like some examples on the internet can prove. Since this denim should resemble 40s denim it shouldn’t hurt that the fades are more into the vintage department. Another thing to know about FC’s 13.7oz denim: it streeeeetches!
This is something I really love about my 1108: all the fine and subtle details only you know about. The 1108 has a 60s cut but all 40s details. For example you will find hidden rivets, hidden coin pocket selvedge, a V-stitch at the top button and only one chainstitch at the waist band.
I really dig the selection of the color and thickness of the threads used on Full Count jeans. It has the right amount of variation for me and the contrast stitching to the dark denim is simply beautiful!
The belt loops are raised and so are the hems of the back pockets. Another beautiful detail is the slightly curved shape of the back pocket. Something Tsujita noticed on well-worn Levi’s is that the top of the back pocket is curved through constant use. He found this nice detail and added it.
You also have branded buttons and rivets as you would expect it from such a renowned brand. The leather patch is fully branded but I can’t tell you from which leather it is made, though I think it’s goat skin.
Like every good repro brand, there is the homage to Levi’s in the form of a red tab and Levi-esque arcuates which can be modified to exactly resemble Levi’s arcs.
Full Counts are very neatly sewn together and the construction is up there with the other big repro brands. The stitching is tidy and well executed. The rivets and buttons look sturdy and haven’t let me down on my 1108 or 1101, yet. The softness and pliability of the denim should result in fewer damages in high stress areas. But with most jeans crotch blowouts are inevitable if you have that certain build (like I do).
Another thing to consider when wearing Full Count is their use of cotton threads. This may result in early broken stitches especially on the arcuates and front pockets. Rumors on the raw denim forums say that Full Count jeans are designed that way to contribute to a certain look, but we can’t be sure about that.
The 1108 is a great and quite modern cut. It isn’t as tapered as some street wear brands and for some repro guys it might be too slim in the top block, but for me it is great! The wide back pocket placement might put off some people, however.
Their flagship denim is one of my favorite denims around as it is so versatile and can be worn nearly throughout the whole year. I honestly can’t say anything negative about it.
I dig all the subtle details and the contrast stitching on the dark indigo and I am very happy with the construction – I’m quite positive they will hold up over the next years. Though, if you are concerned about cotton threads and broken stitches you should think twice.
Honestly, I am so happy with my current 1108 (my 3rd pair of Full Count jeans) that I already pre-ordered the 1108EX 25th anniversary model and also plan to get the 1108X (15.5oz denim which I owned a couple years ago but I got too fat for them and sold them) later on.
Although I am a collector, I have the feeling that the FC 1108 could be THE jeans for me, my ‘501’. I can totally see myself wearing this pair exclusively for years to come.
So if you are in the market for a repro pair of jeans with a slim straight fit, definitely give these 1108 a chance, you won’t regret it!
* More information available via Paul Trynka’s loomstate blog!