HistoryGeneral Pants Company was originally conceived and started by Tom and Bronwyn Tsipris on 20 April 1972. They opened their first store on George Street Wynyard, Sydney and grew the chain to 20 stores throughout the Sydney metropolitan and regional areas. In addition to General Pants, they purchased the Surf DiveвЂ™nвЂ™ Ski (NSW) chain in 1979 which they expanded and ran in conjunction with the General Pants stores. On December 1, 1995 they sold the General Pants stores to the Smorgon Group. The Surf DiveвЂ™n Ski stores were later sold to the Smorgon / Jetty Surf Group in 2005. Who later sold it to Billabong. The International company acquired the retail stores, numbering 38 at the time of sale, for “$35 to $45 million” on 1 November 2010вЂ”two licensed Billabong stores were also included as part of the sale.
The brand entered into a partnership with the Peer Group Media company in 2010 to launch the Major Label music initiative. As of April 2013, Major Label is a record label that is wholly owned by General Pants Co., and allows artists to maintain ownership of copyright, retail full creative control and receive all of the royalty income that is generated through digital music sales. The label only releases singles and the staff of General Pants Co. act as the label’s talent scouts and promotersвЂ”artists have been invited to submit their demo recordings at General Pants Co. retails store locations. Guineafowl, Circle Pit and High Highs were the first three acts that signed deals with the label, and Sydney, Australia band Buzz Kull were chosen in the MayвЂ“June 2013 period.
In 2011, the company published a racy poster advertisement depicting a scantily clad woman with another person’s hands unzipping her pants. The Australian Advertising Standards Bureau logged 37 complaints about the advertisement. The company later censored the posters after consumer complaints, covering parts of the posters. Also during this time, the company was criticized for forcing its store employees to wear badges stating “I love sex” and for using naked mannequins in its stores. After consumer complaints, the company covered the mannequins in their stores, but continued to have employees wear the “I love sex” badges. Some female store employees expressed disapproval of being made to wear the badges, with one referring to it as “inappropriate”, and another stating that she felt “uncomfortable” wearing the badge, finding it “embarrassing” and “demeaning”.