From the introduction to the 4th Catalogue, comes a great statement of the founding principles of Banana Republic: “When our first catalogue appeared in 1978, we gambled that there were others who shared our interest in functional, classic safari-style clothing, others who had as much difficulty tracking down these hard-to-find clothes as we did. We canvassed the globe–from Australia, through South America, Europe, and then to Africa looking for the authentic, genuine, well-made natural fabric garments that remained. It was, and continues to be, quite an odyssey. As you might imagine, pickings are slim–especially at reasonable prices, our primary consideration. But every little gem we discover gives us a special thrill, a thrill we’ve shared with you in our three catalogues. Certainly you remember some of them, long gone and now collectors’ items: the English linen horse feed bag, the Spanish Paratrooper shirt, the Mosquito Net shirt, the Basque Sheepskin Vest, the Gaucho Belt, to name a few. But our biggest thrill of all is producing this catalogue, number four, which we feel offers the most authentic relics to date.
What astonishes us–having now paused long enough from our frenetic global scavenging to notice–is that we have all found each other. From the Virgin Islands to Alaska, from Maine to Hawaii, thousands of you have made it possible for us to bring our store to you by mail. Your daily letters and phone calls create a village feeling in our offices. The thousands of miles that separate us vanish because of a few principles we share: a passion for things natural, straight-talk, honest clothing (meaning buttons, buckles, pockets, stitches, etc. that work, don’t just decorate). Frivolity is not our style in clothing. The word is function. We cherish what’s real. We are the people who buy they steak, not the sizzle, the champagne, not the bubbles, the item, not its package.”
–Mel Ziegler and Patricia Gwilliam