Where did the baby name Murjani come from in 1980?

"Gloria Vanderbilt by Murjani" commercial (featuring Debbie Harry of Blondie)
“Gloria Vanderbilt by Murjani” commercial

In 1930, a man named Bhagwandas Kewalram “B. K.” Murjani left India to start a clothing manufacturing company in China.

In the late 1960s, his U.S.-educated son Mohan Murjani joined the business. Mohan Murjani eventually transformed the “small American marketing arm of his family’s company into a Seventh Avenue corporation with $300 million in annual sales.”

One of the keys to this growth was teaming up with American heiress/fashion designer Gloria Vanderbilt and launching one of the very first designer jean brands, Gloria Vanderbilt, in 1977.

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 — which cost $32 at a time when “Levi jeans were selling for about $15” — were booming.

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, so it’s not surprising that 1980 is also the year the name Murjani (pronounced mur-ZHAH-nee) first appears in the U.S. baby name data:

  • 1983: unlisted
  • 1982: 6 baby girls named Murjani
  • 1981: 10 baby girls named Murjani
  • 1980: 8 baby girls named Murjani [debut]
  • 1979: unlisted
  • 1978: unlisted

Like Jordache, though, Murjani dropped out of the data 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 is “sometimes mistaken as an Italian because of [his] family name.”

What are your thoughts on the baby name Murjani?


  • 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.
  • Hollie, Pamela G. “Murjani Seeking a Stable of Designers.” New York Times 21 Jun. 1983: D4.
  • Murjani Group
  • SSA

Image: Screenshot of a TV commercial for Gloria Vanderbilt jeans

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