Banana Republic Catalog No. 15: Fall 1983

Banana Republic Catalog 1983 Holiday by Kevin Sarkki

Page 2 and 3 of the Fall 83 catalog. The introduction is word for word the same as the message from the founders in later catalogs. The company has 4 stores now (there would be 95 in 5 years). These rare monotone catalogs are filled with items not seen in the more common catalogs, such as the musician’s vest seen here.


The Sierra Denim shirt is an old standby, howver, as is a Herbert Gold testimonial. Kind of a cool page showing the surplus item and the BR manufactured Drill Trousers offered side by side. The Sheepskin Vest is also very early, I don’t show it offered after 1983.


Fall 83 page 8/9….I don’t think we’ve seen any of these neat early surplus items before! The raincoat sounds amazing. Leg Straps! And are the Survivalon pants the primitive ancestors of the Kenyan Convertibles? That detachable pocket is really unusual. $69 pants in 1983? Quite the investment.


This native American beaded BR belt is something you find in the very early BR catalogs. I’ve seen a few online and picked one up cheap. They are very odd to me, exactly the kind of thing I remember buying at the highway rest-stop trading post on the Southwest.

Mike Madrid wrote in to say: “This was from the 80’s when logo merchandise was starting to take off. A customer may not be able to afford the expensive leather jacket, but they can buy a lower priced item and still be part of the ‘experience’. That’s why BR always sold graphic t-shirts. The customer gets something affordable and the brand gets free advertising.”


Talk about old reliable…The French Army Bush Hat and Bombay shirt were in production seemingly for the entire duration of the Ziegler’s Banana Republic!


I believe I have found the single most hilarious write-up in a Banana Republic Catalog. Unable to put his trademark spin on these Authentic British Navy swim trunks, Mel describes them as ludicrous, hideous and worth of a Monty Python sketch. No collection is complete without them. Take em off our hands for SIX BUCKS!


The last page of the Fall 1983 catalog, where all of the hip flying aces shop. Fantastic that they once offered vintage GOGGLES as part of the ensemble. And I’m curious to know whether the scarf was once in fact a surplus item that they later manufactured or if it was always a replica item.



Lastly, inspired by covers BR did where they colored previous black and white art I decided to try painting Kevin Sarkki’s bi-plane cover in Photoshop. I think I came up with a nice blustery autumnal feel for the 1983 all catalog. Mr. Sarkki himself approved. 

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