History of Ninian & Lester


Ninian & Lester is founded

Vernon Schroder establishes a small ladies underwear factory in Johannesburg.


Ninian & Lester are awarded the franchise for Jockey

Jockey, the company founded in 1876 by Samuel Thrall Cooper in St. Joseph, Michigan was world renowned for mens underwear.


The first Jockey range is launched in South Africa

Two years after being awarded the franchise, the first Jockey range was launched in South Africa. As one of the largest manufacturers of underwear in South Africa, we continuously strive to innovate and aspire to remain the brand people think of for quality and style, but never forgetting our purpose, to satisfy the human need for comfort.


Ninian & Lester diversifies into the production of knitted fabrics.

With the opening of a textile factory in Pinetown we were able to secure our own supply base in respect of raw material for garment manufacture.


Jockey for Her® range released.

The ladieswear range was introduced and the brand has continued to grow to the point where it is currently the dominant underwear brand in Southern Africa with over 90% of the product and its raw materials still manufactured in South Africa.


Sapy incorporated

A joint venture between Ninian and Lester and PFE International saw the incorporation of Sapy to capture the multi-filament polypropylene yarn market in South Africa and surrounding regions. Building on strong technical expertise, the company was driven forward to establish the market foothold that it has in the industry today. Over 70,000 m² factory space is home to three divisions within SAPY – namely Yarn, Masterbatch and Fibre.


Ninian & Lester and Dyefin Textiles

The textile division is restructured but continues to knit fabrics for its group clothing requirements and for third party customers. N&L enters into a strategic relationship with Dyefin Textiles who take over the printing, dyeing and finishing of their fabrics.