A profile spotted near Dundas Street West in the west end of Toronto:
For those fashionistas who couldn’t afford Sasson or Calvin Klein denim, they turned to the mass market brand of Chic by H.I.S.
A company that originated in the 1920s under the name Henry I. Siegel, in the 1960s saw the change in women’s fashion and started producing pants and other garments traditionally associated with men for women.
In the late 1970s, under the direction of Jesse Siegel, the company stopped manufacturing denim for men and focused the on the women’s line. By the early 1980s, Chic was the third-largest manufacturer of jeans, after Levis Strauss and H.D. Lee.
Accessing more customers was the key – and Chic did it with introducing a wider range of sizing and relaxed, slim and classic fit. TV commercials showed customers the wide range of sizes, fit, colours and textures, for example here.
Chic also introduced gift with purchase – like in this commercial from 1986. The mass market appreciated the offers and the jeans were the affordable option for those who couldn’t go for the bigger brands.
In 1986, new CFO Burton Rosenberg changed the brand’s strategy to lower prices to go up against their rival Gitano, making their jeans $20.00 retail.
By 1988, H.I.S. posted profits of $233 million and by the early 1990s, posted profits of $304 million. And for the mass market, it was all about being chic in Chic.
Denim transformed from the hippy handpainted 1960s to wide legged styles of the 1970s. But in 1978, the denim world transformed again thanks to Jordache.
Three brothers – Joe, Ralph and Avi Nakash formed their business, a retail outlet that discounted brand name jeans. In 1977, their largest store was looted in NYC during a city wide blackout. The insurance money was invested in manufacturing their first brand – Jordache.
In 1979, trying to stand out in the crowd of designer jeans, such as the very popular Gloria Vanderbilt jeans, the brothers took their sales and invested in an aggressive television advertising program.
Not shying away from blatant sexuality, Jordache’s first television ad depicted a topless woman riding a horse through the surf, wearing Jordache jeans. Follow up commercials focused on long-haired models showing up at bars, restaurants and clubs, showing The Jordache Look. Check them out here!
But it wasn’t just teens and adults who wanted The Jordache Look – even kids got their own styles – check this out!
Who didn’t want The Jordache Look? In the next decade, this brand racked up over $300 million in sales – thanks to all those buyers wanting to look as sexy as they possibly could in these jeans.
Despite the fixation on youth culture, 1980s tv featured four women who were seniors – and certainly unabashedly living their lives to their fullest: The Golden Girls.
Created by Susan Harris in 1985, the girls were Dorothy (Bea Arthur), an outspoken divorcee with two children; Sophia (Estelle Getty), who is Dorothy’s mother and a opinionated widow who had lived in a retirement home but moves in with the girls; Blanche (Rue McClanahan) a widow with six children and sex on the brain; and Rose (Betty White) a soft-spoken widow with five children who works as a grief counsellor.
The girls share a house in Miami, Florida and their lives, with episodes revealing the reality of aging, women’s issues, dating, health, children, money as well as the hilarity of how all these issues intersect.
The girls also deal with one another personalities, each one offering their own perspective of the world and how society has changed. There’s plenty of poking fun at each other’s stereotypes, much to the delight of viewers.
This show was an immediate hit after its debut in September 1985. For seven seasons, the girls were bound by love and death and laughs, and were rewarded with 68 Emmy nominations, including 11 Emmy wins, as well as each actress winning an Emmy for their acting. It is one of three television shows in history to have awarded every lead actor an Emmy Award.
In the time on air, The Golden Girls was ranked in the top 10 for tv series each year until their final seventh season.
And despite not being young actresses or those involved in a dramatic evening soap opera style series, The Golden Girls was everyone’s favourite way to spend a half hour in front of the television.