Banana Republic Catalogue #12 1983

The timing of this catalogue is a bit of a mystery, because there was a Christmas gift catalog (AND UPDATE) at the end of 1982 AND a Spring 1983 Catalog. #13. So is #12 an additional holiday catalog?? Or another Spring Catalog? It simply doesn’t say.

1982 Catalogue #11, 1982 Gift Catalogue, Catalog #12 1983, Catalog #13 (un-numbered) Spring 1983.

The content is similar, but changing, and the #12 catalog was a slightly richer feel, with more extensive use of duo-tone colors. The style of the early catalogs continues to progress and this feels like more professionally produced catalog.

This was just after Kevin Sarrki had been hired to take over the artwork from Patricia Ziegler and the quality of the rendering is an upgrade from previous offerings. The cover is magnificent, with a still life that includes a toucan and Livingstone the Zebra mascot. The bale of surplus pants reminds me of Kevin describing working next to a large pile of surplus Gurkha pants in the BR warehouse. Patricia liked this artwork enough to hang it in her office!

I think it’s interesting that they experimented with a script style of the “Safari & Travel Clothing” subheading. This was just before the GAP purchase when they brought in a superstar graphic designer to do the masthead and logos (as well as all the other upgrades GAP money made possible to the catalogs and stores).

Catalog #12 original artwork hangs on the office wall of BR co-founder Patrica Ziegler.

As with other early catalogs I am reluctant to scan entirely as I don’t want to damage the spine, so I am presenting some highlights of photographed pages..

This is a nice spread that recalls some of the favorite safari dress presentations in later catalogs. Unusual in that it has a photograph in it!
Another classic spread is this WW1 Flying Ace page with flight helmets, aviator scarves and the Goatskin Flight Jacket. There would be many similar spreads throughout the catalog run.
I would venture to say this is in the top 5 most unusual BR products ever. It’s certainly a remarkable image!

This leather holster shows up a lot on the early catalogs.
A handy cartoon for determining if your pants are “Tropical Wool” and thus never need pressing.
Surplus military foot powder shows up from time to time in the catalogs!
The Hooded Bush Vest, one of the all-time most popular items is featured on the back page. This was not surplus, but was manufactured for BR. I would like to know if the design changed at all after Gap purchased BR and ramped up manufacturing.

About The Author

Robyn Adams
Robyn's fascination with Banana Republic began in 1984 when her Alaskan adventurer father began buying the clothing and giving her the catalogs. She loved the clothes and as an artist she was drawn to the illustrations. She went on to study illustration at art college in BR's hometown of San Francisco and worked for years as a background artist for animation. She is now based in Oakland, CA as a graphic designer and illustrator with Secret Fan Base . She's been collecting and archiving at Abandoned Republic since 2011.

1 Comment

  • Gerry on December 21, 2022

    So glad you posted the full catalog, lucky for us you have two copies!

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