Independent baby name blog & directory, est. 2006.
How popular is the baby name Jordache in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, see baby names similar to Jordache and check out all the blog posts that mention the name Jordache.
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The baby name Wrangler debuted on the U.S. baby name charts in 1987.
So here’s the mystery: What caused the debut? Was the name inspired by Wrangler Jeans, or by the Jeep Wrangler? Or both?
Wrangler Jeans, which have been around since the 1940s, were available in trendy, tight-fitting “designer” styles during the ’80s (just like Jordache and Murjani). Wrangler commercials from that time period (e.g., 1, 2, 3) all featured the same catchy “live it to the limit in Wrangler” theme song.
The Jeep Wrangler was introduced in 1986. The Jeep Wrangler ads weren’t as eye-catching as the Wrangler Jeans ads, but it’s hard to overlook the correlation between the year the car came out and the year the name debuted, and the fact that new cars with decent names often do inspire baby name debuts (e.g., Chevelle, Allante, Miata).
My opinion? I think both products had some influence here.
A small number babies born prior to 1987 were named Wrangler, and I’m sure a few of them were named with the Jeans in mind. (Favorite example: James Levi Wrangler Dunlap, born in 1984.)
But I think the Jeep Wrangler is what gave the name enough of a boost in 1987 for us to see it on the baby charts.
What do you think?
(Interestingly, the baby name Wrangler was only on the SSA’s list once in the ’80s and a few more times during the ’90s, but it has appeared consistently on the charts since the turn of the century. Its best showing so far was in 2011, with 16 baby boys named Wrangler that year.)
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.
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:
1982: 6 baby girls named Murjani
1981: 10 baby girls named Murjani
1980: 8 baby girls named Murjani [debut]
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.”
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.
Young people have been wearing jeans since the 1950s, thanks to the influence of jeans-wearing movie stars like Marlon Brando, James Dean and Paul Newman.
But designer jeans didn’t catch on until the late 1970s.
Designer jeans, made for the dance floor and the roller-disco rink, were tighter, sexier, and more sophisticated. Their hallmarks were instantly recognizable: a covetable name and logo on the back pocket, a high price, and a curve-hugging fit.
And what brand went on to become one of the most popular designer jean brands of the 1980s?
The Jordache Jeans label was created in New York City in 1978 by Israeli brothers Josef (Joe), Raphael (Ralph) and Abraham (Avi) Nakash.
The word Jordache was created from the “Jo” of Joe, the “R” of Ralph, the “D” of David (Ralph’s eldest son), the “A” of Avi, and sh-sound of Nakash.
The brothers had built up a small chain of stores selling brand-name jeans at discounted prices during the ’70s, but during the New York City blackout of 1977, their largest store was looted and burned down. With the insurance settlement, they decided to start manufacturing their own jeans.
But designer jeans by Calvin Klein, Gloria Vanderbilt, Chic, Sergio Valente, Sasson, Zena, Bon Jour, and others were already on the market. To differentiate themselves, the bothers launched a controversial advertising campaign for Jordache Jeans in January of 1979.
Banned by all three major television networks at first, the 1979 30-second spot featured a topless model on horseback clad only in Jordache and accompanied by the jingle “You’ve got the look I want to know better.”
The ad may have been too lewd for the big networks, “but the independent New York stations carried it, and within weeks Jordache was a hit among teenage girls.”
And so, by the start of the 1980s, Jordache was huge.
So huge that it became a baby name.
Jordache first popped up on the SSA’s baby name list in 1980:
1985: 5 baby boys named Jordache
1984: 5 baby boys named Jordache
1981: 8 baby boys named Jordache
1980: 12 baby boys named Jordache [debut]
But the baby name Jordache didn’t catch on. It made the list three more times during the ’80s, then dropped off, never to return.
I find it really interesting that Jordache, a fashion brand, was use more often as a boy name than as a girl name. (I have found a handful of females with the name, so they do exist.)
What do you think — does the name “Jordache” seem masculine or feminine to you?