AskDefine | Define jams

User Contributed Dictionary



  • /d​͡ʒæmz/


  1. Plural of jam


  1. third-person singular of jam

Extensive Definition

JAMS is one of the lines of clothing produced by Jams World.
Many baby boomers remember the wildly popular JAMS shorts of the 1960s and 1980s. JAMS were closely associated with the California and Hawaii surf scenes. The JAMS brand still exists, and has grown into today's Jams World clothing and accessories line.


Company founder Dave Rochlen was a legendary surfer, originally in Santa Monica, California, then in Hawaii. Inspired by his own desire to find more comfortable surfing attire, combined with a LIFE Magazine article showing Russians looking comfortable attending the beach in bathrobes, Rochlen bought some brightly-colored floral fabric and asked his wife Keanuenue to make a short, baggy pajama with a sewn-up fly and cut-off at the knee. With this vision, they created the first pair of JAMS on December 25, 1964. Soon, all of Rochlen's surfing buddies wanted a pair of his JAMS.
Rochlen quit his job as a systems analyst and started his new company Surf Line Hawaii, Ltd. to make and sell his new creation. Soon after his first commercial pairs of JAMS hit the Makaha Beach in Hawaii, their appeal as a surfing lifestyle item landed Rochlen and a group of his surfing buddies a two-page spread in the June 1965 issue of LIFE Magazine, the magazine that inspired this whole phenomena. Within no time the JAMS line was picked up and sold in exclusive shops that included Bloomingdales, Macy's, and Lord & Taylor.
It is widely acknowledged that JAMS were revolutionary. The JAMS look was baggy and bohemian, and Rochlen took it a step further by introducing JAMS in wild prints and shocking pinks and greens. It was a clear departure from the more subtle color combinations and detailing (basically, stripes) of existing boardshorts.

The Name "JAMS"

One might think JAMS is short for Jamaica, but it is not. Dave Rochlen explained the name as "I thought of it. It's part of the word 'pajamas,' of course, and it was what I wanted - short, quick, jargon, hip, young, one-syllable."
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