The Baby Name Murjani

In 1930, a man named B. K. Murjani left India to start a clothing company in China.

The Murjani company was focused on manufacturing until the mid-1960s, when B.K.’s son Mohan joined and transitioned the company to designer brand development and marketing.

In 1977, Murjani teamed up with heiress Gloria Vanderbilt to launch one of the first designer jean brands, Gloria Vanderbilt.

Debbie Harry - Murjani
“Gloria Vanderbilt for Murjani” commercial
featuring Debbie Harry of Blondie
The company poured a lot of money into building the brand. According to the Murjani Group website, Gloria Vanderbilt “was perhaps the first apparel brand to be advertised in marketing channels such as buses, phone booths and TV.” Gloria herself was featured in many of the television commercials.

By 1979, sales of GV jeans were massive.

In 1980, the company started using younger celebrities to endorse the brand. They put out print ads featuring baseball player Reggie Jackson and TV commercials featuring Blondie singer Debbie Harry.

We’ve already seen that advertisements (and especially TV commercials) have the power to influence baby name trends (e.g., Calizza, Dijonnaise), so it’s not surprising that 1980 is also the year the baby name Murjani debuted on the SSA’s baby name list:

  • 1983: unlisted
  • 1982: 6 baby girls named Murjani
  • 1981: 10 baby girls named Murjani
  • 1980: 8 baby girls named Murjani [debut]
  • 1979: unlisted

Like Jordache, though, Murjani dropped off the list after only a few years.

I don’t know what the etymology of the surname Murjani is, but Mohan Murjani has been quoted as saying that he has “sometimes mistaken as an Italian because of [his] family name.”

Sources:

  • Duttagupta, Ishani. “Indian style guru: Building global lifestyle brands.” Economic Times 15 May 2008.
  • Hellman, Peter. “Sic Transit Gloria.” New York Magazine 15 Feb. 1993: 34-41.
  • Murjani Group

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