memories of the ’80s – Chic by H.I.S.

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.


About Waheeda Harris

A pop culture junkie with a penchant for exploring our planet.
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