A memory left behind

Women of a certain age may relate to this:

I remember with the few friends I did have — who were kids from families that were frugal like mine — whispering furtively “lard-ass jeans” about the Jordache jeans (I think that may have been a joke on SNL?). Whispering furtively because “ass” was a bad bad bad word and we could have got in SO MUCH TROUBLE had a teacher overheard. Heh.

Actually, it went far beyond “joke on SNL”:

In 1984, Jordache Enterprises, Inc. was the designer jeans behemoth of its day, grossing about $400 million annually. Jordache had just launched a $30 million ad campaign to keep up the momentum.

That same year, two Albuquerque women, Susan Duran and Marsha Stafford, started a home-based company to market a brand of designer jeans for plus-sized women.

The two ladies were passionate about their new venture. Duran, 35 (5’8″, 190 pounds), and Stafford, 33 (5’7″, 170 pounds), had long wanted to create jeans for the amply-proportioned woman.

They considered a variety of brand names for the new company — Calvin Swine, Vidal Sowsoon, Seambusters, Buffalo Buns, Thunder Thighs. In the end, they chose Lardashe.

Jordache, of course, was not amused:

During the three-day trial, an attorney for Jordache said, “The term Lardashe, which everybody understands to be lard ass, is an offensive, insensitive term to use to apply to overweight women.” He claimed that potential customers might think Lardashe jeans were a Jordache product and could take offense… The District Court in New Mexico held, and an appeals court later affirmed, that no trademark infringement had occurred.

There was, however, one unexpected later development:

Although the ladies won, the legal battle proved to be particularly costly for Stafford. She developed an ulcer and lost 60 pounds, making her too svelte for Lardashe jeans.

She and her partner solved the problem by creating a new line of Lardashe junior sizes.

Eventually, Lardashe was wound down. Jordache survives today, although they’ve diversified into lots of other product lines, and their jeans are no longer considered even slightly iconic.





3 comments

  1. McGehee »

    3 August 2014 · 8:43 am

    Meanwhile I can’t see a display of the Faded Glory label without thinking they’re aimed at 70-something former sex symbols.

  2. Lynn »

    4 August 2014 · 9:48 am

    What a sad story.

  3. Linda Moyer »

    9 August 2014 · 1:15 am

    I still own 4 pairs of them even though they no longer fit. Would love to sell them.

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