Jockey International is one of the leading men's underwear brands in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, the Phillippines, and South Africa. The company's products are sold in more than 120 countries throughout the world. Jockey, which originated as S.T. Cooper and Sons, a hosiery company in Saint Joseph, Michigan, was founded in 1876 by Samuel T. Cooper who wanted to improve the comfort of the socks worn by lumberjacks.
Shortly after Cooper's death in 1893, his sons moved the company to Kenosha, Wisconsin, where it is headquartered today. The new manufacturing facility produced hosiery under the Black Cat brand, which quickly acquired a reputation for high quality. Seven years later, the company expanded its product line with White Cat underwear. By 1902 rapid growth necessitated the construction of a second factory just to manufacture the underwear.
Jockey introduced its first major clothing innovation, the Kenosha Klosed Krotch, in 1909. This unique, diagonal-shaped crotch design replaced the bulky drop seat found in union suits, the most common type of men's underwear at the time. In 1934 the company developed a new men's undergarment which transformed the company and men's fashion. This new garment, the Jockey brief, was styled after a skimpy men's swimsuit. It was designed to serve as underwear and as an athletic supporter. This new style revolutionized men's underwear by allowing freer movement and support for activity. To maximize the athletic association of the briefs, Jockey used Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Red Grange, and Jim Palmer to promote its products. Initially other companies dismissed the brief, but its almost immediate popularity forced those companies to create their own versions of the comfortable style.
During the 1940s and 1950s, the company pioneered the idea of fashion underwear by marketing prints. This idea was unusual, since most people regarded underwear to be a "private" item. In 1959 Jockey introduced the first men's bikini brief, which became extremely popular in the 1970s. The company introduced its first full line of women's underwear, Jockey for Her, in 1982. In 1998, although it continued manufacturing and marketing women's underwear, the company dropped the "for Her" part of the brand name and integrated the men's and women's lines.
In addition to manufacturing its own brand, Jockey held numerous licensing agreements. During the 1990s, the company held agreements with Tommy Hilfiger, Jerzees, and Liz Claiborne to manufacture and market underwear. It also held licensing agreements for active wear, sleepwear, and socks for Jacques Moret, Host Apparel, and Gold Toe, respectively. By 1999 the company operated fifteen factories in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Costa Rica. Website: http://www.jockey.com
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