The Pith Helmet

From the catalogue: “From Her Majesty’s former burden, the colony of India, comes our genuine Bombay Bowler. Water repellent khaki cotton covers the pith. Positively sunroof. For extra protection on particularly scorching days, we suggest dunking the hat occasionally in cool water.”

The Pith Helmet was a staple of Banana Republic from the very beginning. While it was likely a popular novelty purchase, the BR helmets were authentic, high-quality Indian imports. They were also something that people seem to have hung onto, as they are “somewhat common” on eBay. Most of them simply say “Made In India” and don’t have a BR label, so without a price tag they are hard to authenticate.

Some were produced with the circular Parrot BR logo inside the crown. 

Thanks to JT for pictures of his with the price tag still attached. The Parrot version is in my own collection.

This parrot label is underneath a plastic covering that is sewn into the crown of the helmet.
Top right picture shows Pith Helmets stacked on the floor of the Grant Ave. store in San Francisco.

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.

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