• 07.23.12

I Am Not a Virgin Jeans Company Runs Afoul Of Richard Branson

Billionaire Virgin founder Richard Branson has some choice words for new denim label “I Am Not a Virgin,” which is cheekily named after the brand’s promise of using recycled material.

I Am Not a Virgin Jeans Company Runs Afoul Of Richard Branson
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We’ve already seen the highlight reel that is Richard Branson’s life story, but there was nothing in it about the billionaire’s litigious side. It comes as something of a surprise then to learn that Branson has entered Facebook territory, sending out a cease-and-desist letter to an upstart designer jeans label that incorporates the word “Virgin” in its title.


Considering that the jeans in question are made from a unique mix of 75% virgin cotton and 25% recycled synthetics including recycled beer bottles, the name “I Am Not a Virgin” makes sense in context. Its worst crime would appear to be the juvenile naughtiness of alluding to sex, rather than copyright infringement. Nonetheless, a video promoting the New York-based company emerged last week, featuring a dramatic reading of the letter Branson sent IANAV’s founder, Peter Heron.

“Does that mean people are going to get confused when they see a bottle of extra virgin olive oil as well?” Heron asks pointedly after the letter stresses that the denim label’s name invites confusion. Branson goes on to offer suggestions on other names the label might use instead, such as “I Am Not Pure” and “I Am Not Chaste,” which clearly do not have the same ring to them. As of now, Heron is not backing down, and he invites viewers of the video to lend their support by writing their name in the comments section of his video on YouTube.

Heron launched IANAV recently with partner and fellow advertising creative Walt Connelly inspired by the fact that millions of tons of denim waste ends up in landfills each year.

Below, you can watch the video Heron created to launch the brand, asking people on the street about how they lost their virginity.

About the author

Joe Berkowitz is a writer and staff editor at Fast Company. His next book, Away with Words, is available June 13th from Harper Perennial.