Banana Republic Summer 1988 No. 36: Trips Magazine

Banana Republic Summer 1988 No. 36: Trips Magazine

Banana Republic Catalog 36 Summer 1988 Cover by Etienne Delessert

Here we come to the end of the Summer catalogs from Banana Republic, 1988’s No. 36. The catalog introduces Trips, the new travel magazine created by the Zieglers as a bold expansion of the Banana Republic world view.

As was reported in this March 1988 article in the LA Times, the new venture was both a vehicle to sell BR clothes with a 16 page photo advertorial inside and a platform to expand upon the  BR philosophy with articles by veteran journalists about unusual locales and off-beat attitudes about travel.

The Times article goes on to quote Mel: “We want to attract people to the store who don’t understand what Banana Republic is all about. The clothes have evolved from strictly safari wear. We’ve been both the beneficiary and the victim of the safari fashion rage.” 

The following month (April 88) brought yet another article in the LA Times, but this one was announcing the departure of the Zieglers from Banana Republic, citing “fundamental creative and cultural differences”.

GAP “turnaround artist” Mickey Drexler had recently been named CEO and he was instituting big changes at BR, changing the focus from the safari theme.  Catalog sales were down as more and more customers shopped in BR’s 96 retail stores and sales in general were slowing. A new creative director came on board and change was coming.

The article mentions the expense of Trips as a contributing factor in the change. A later New York Times article said “Relations between the Zieglers and the Gap’s founder, Don Fisher, soured when the couple insisted on publishing a travel magazine and began selling travel books in their shops. (Mr. Fisher reportedly said that if he’d wanted to sell books, he’d have bought Rand McNally.)

I have not obtained a copy of Trips magazine, I’m sure I will eventually, but I’ve kept it at a distance. It wasn’t the cause of the end of the catalog and safari era, not by a long shot, but part of me still blames it a little…

We may hear more about this tumultuous time in the Ziegler’s upcoming memoir Wild Company. Can’t wait!

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Robyn Adams

3 Comments

  • Kent A. Andrew on January 18, 2013

    Question: How many issues of TRIPS magazine were published? Just wondering . . . . I have an “inaugural issue” (dated Spring 1988) in my modest collection of first edition magazine/journals. I KNOW the venture is over and am trying to get final details.

  • Håkan Ludwigson on February 7, 2015

    My photographs from Australia were published in that, one and only, issue. Unfortunately I do not find my own copy and I am trying to find out who wrote the text for that story. Headline could have been “Riding the back of beyond”
    Could you please have a look in the magazine.
    I am particulary interested since STEIDL is publishing my book “Balls and Bulldust” that will be out this spring/summer 2015.
    The book has 170 of these Australia photographs.
    Håkan Ludwigson

  • Lisa on November 4, 2016

    The writer of the Australian article was Tony Clifton. The title is “Riding the Back of Beyond”.

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