Memos to Kevin re: Banana Republic

Hi Abandoned Republic! I’ve the day off so wanted to get these treasures to you ASAP. They sort of tell a story of a starving artist (me) negotiating the perilous deep waters of the business world in the big city of  San Francisco during the early 80s. “


From the archives of staff artist Kevin Sarkki we are delighted to share this glimpse at the life of a young artist working for the rapidly growing company Banana Republic. Be sure and read Kevin’s earlier interview as well as Mike Madrid‘s recollections of life in the BR offices.

These artifacts really do tell the story of growth as the stationary and memos become more and more polished and sophisticated and the relationships more professionalo. The back and forth of salary negotiations is fantastic to witness.

Click through the images and commentary using the arrows below.

Banana Republic Inter-office envelope

Image 1 of 11

Inter-office envelopes were common at all kinds of companies and were usually recycled repeatedly as they carried documents between offices. This charming example of a BR envelope went from Mel to Kevin.


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.


  • David Smith on November 11, 2014

    God I miss the real Banana Republic. And those catalogs were a gateway to another time and place.

  • Connie Gilmore on October 3, 2016

    I loved reading the descriptions of the items in the BR catalogues. I had done some traveling to far away places during the late 1960’s to 1970’s, when cigarette ash trays were in the arm rests at your seat in flights, and I could clearly imangine the wonderful descritions as real. I have wild stories that have never been told. I also love watercolor and the paintings were perfect. I’ve kept most of my special things all of my life.
    Now, I am close to 71 and am trying to find homes for my special items. I can provide photos. I have catalogues, the save-the-tiger belt and other clothing. All is like new condition.
    I live in NW Iowa. I can provide photos. And, I am completely new to blogs. If anyone reads this, please let me know, I appreciate any response.
    Thank you for your attention,

    • Khin Aung on April 20, 2020

      Connie, that is wonderful. How lucky you are to have preserved the items. I am just discovering this old world of BR after finding a beautiful but fairly recent (maybe 1996 or later) khaki piece from the company. The artwork and the care and quality behind these pieces of items to be treasured, well I can only imagine. It would be a dream to come across an original find.

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