Monday, August 5, 2013

The Jockey Culture

I don't have a very good sense of fashion. Shopping for clothes can be a very stressing excericse for me. But one thing that I am really proud of is the fact that I shifted to Jockey! The moment I tried one I knew I was part of the community just like them->

The Jockey community

There was a time when indigenous VIP and Lux Cozi (with an I) probably created the "coolest" underwear for the humble middle class of India. Back in those medieval times, underwear was simple and you got those cotton ones with an elastic band around them. Everyone wore the same socialist chaddis.

This single variety dominated the brief landscape back in the 90's

But then something happened which changed the equation, most likely liberalisation and globalisation. And vip got a kick on its bum. Jockey had arrived with their cool ads and funky underpants! Their products and advertisement caught the imagination of everyone. My schoolmates had intense discussions about it in the school bus. 

Suddenly, wearing expensive and flashy underwear was a necessity. Everyone wanted to be branded, owned by Jockey. Meanwhile, I was trying hard to resist this cultural revolution. 

I told them it was way expensive. Today, it costs around Rs 200 a piece, more than double the amount what VIP costs (I googled). They said it was very comfortable. I said look at all the variety, that's confusing! They said don't be a dork and get one!

So I did. And I had never felt happier. Suddenly you felt cool and had the confidence that you can take on the world. Their boxers were like an additional pair of lungs! They breathed! Moreover here was a brand responsible for creating, perhaps, thousands of jobs. They had launched so many different underpants that small scale shopkeepers had to keep a specialist who was well versed with Jockey varieties. The specialist would listen to your requirements and give you the perfect piece, just like shoes or shirts. I realised this when I paid a visit to the neighbourwallah undergarment store once.

Me-"Im looking for briefs"
Sardarji-"Yeh lo VIP, nabbhe rupaye"
Me-"Jockey chaiye"
Sardarji-"Udhar jaao" (pointing towards his son)
Me-"Wahan bheed hai..."
Sardarji-"Jo(h)key wahi batayega..."

The older generation had no clue how to sell all these different kinds. For them all were the same be it the high cut brief, low cut brief or the bikini cut. (courtesy:

When other international brands realised the potential of Indian markets they jumped at the opportunity. Soon we had rack-fulls of CK, Levi's, Diesel, Fruit of the Loom, Hanes among others trying to dislodge Jockey from the top spot. I'm sure they did eat away a lot of business from our favourite brand. But who wears one with apples and grapes drawn on it, right?