Friday, July 17, 2020

The Original Banana Republic Store

I remember back in the 1980s when Banana Republic stores featured Safari gear and other travel accessories that harkened back to the 1930s and Indiana Jones movies or a 1950s Stewart Granger safari movie. The catalog also featured one-off finds that the owners discovered during the course of their global travels.

The company was headquartered in the San Francisco area and it issued wonderful catalogs on a regular basis (monthly?). The cover always had a hand drawn, somewhat whimsical, drawing on the cover that was a little work of art in its own right. Some of the stores had funny displays such as a real army Jeep or artificial animal Trophy heads, or even a full sized artificial giraffe. Every visit to Banana Republic was a travel safari in its own right.

I was a regular customer of Banana Republic in the 1980s. I had my Indiana Jones fedora, Khaki pants and safari shorts ( outerwear, not underwear, LOL), various backpacks and travel bags, etc. The clothes were of very good quality and you could wear the trousers, shirts etc. without looking like a poser. They were really handy for hiking trips.

Alas, somewhere along the line, the company was bought by The Limited, a national retail clothing chain, bought Banana Republic and turned it into a high priced clothing store that targeted Yuppies ( Young Urban Professionals) and more specifically young women.

No more colorful catalogs to look at. Once my safari trousers had worn out, there was no way to replace them. It was a sad loss, indeed.


  1. I wish we had had them here in the Uk, the catalogues, shops and products sound terrific.

  2. Well! This brings back memories!

    1. You can find many of the catalog covers on Pinterest.

  3. I used to buy novelty t-shirts there. My favorite had the BR logo with "Minister of Propaganda" on it.

  4. Try Cordings in London old chap.

  5. Orvis perhaps? Their Ultimate Khakis come in up to 35" leg length with a 10 oz canvas, and safari shirts of a decent weight too.

    Regards, Chris.