Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Banana Republic: On the Hunt For an Extinct Brand

I've grieved for years over the olive green safari skirt (how foolish of me to let it get away) that I purchased at the old Banana Republic. I'm heartbroken when I remember the wide leather belt with a buckle so large I could have slain a charging elephant with it.  My Out of Africa/ Let's Dress Like Isaac Dineson Every Day phase immediately followed my Mid 80s Hippie phase which came on the heels of my Princess Diana wannabe phase. You'll be glad to know that elements of all these fashion trials blended into the eventual Let's Find Our Own Style  phase where I've been happily residing for several years. (But I digress)

If you see Banana Republic at the mall and wonder why it has such an odd name when it's a Gap knockoff, I feel sorry for you. Bless your heart, you are a style baby. Here's the skinny; It actually used to be an outpost for buying "travel and safari" clothing. The catalogs were exciting to read; shopping at the store felt like an expedition. It had a ceiling that looked like a blue African sky, and you might have found a tent set up just waiting for you to return from a day of hunting (for the perfect leather bag, perhaps) or a jeep crashing through the wall (because shopping is an adventure). I've been looking for a while online for someone else who loved this store and maybe had a catalog or two.  Then I happened upon this: Abandoned Republic. Your travel guide for the site is Scott Adams who has quite a collection of catalogs, stories, and photos.

The store started out selling military surplus from around the world and was creative and original until it was swallowed up by a giant homogenous corporate entity whose one goal seems to be to have everyone dress alike and kill variety and any spirit of adventure...fashion or otherwise. I'm a little bitter, can you tell? When I pass the new store at the mall, I have to turn my head.

A moment of silence please for creativity and originality.

The Housewife in Mexico
The Housewife craves canvas and khaki in addition to silk and cashmere! I've never packed a bag for a trip that I didn't think of some item that I wish I had from this company. How many times have I wished I saved my catalogs! So I was ecstatic when I found this website. If you remember back in the day, you'll love the trip down memory lane, if you have no idea what I'm talking about, you'll be mad when you see what you missed. 

Everything you ever wanted to know is available on the Abandoned Republic site including where to find resellers of your favorite safari jacket or hiking boots. Here are a few photos to whet your appetite for your web trek.

Bon Voyage Style Adventurer!

1 comment:

  1. I love that whole Adventurer style that looks like it's right out of Indian Jones. I've always wondered what that style of decor and clothing are officially called. Do you know?

    I have a hard time explaining it to people and wonder what time period it is originally from. Looks like the early 1900's, but I've always wondered if it could be more specific.