Banana Republic invented retail storytelling. Founded in 1978 by Mel and Patricia Ziegler, Banana Republic was originally called “Banana Republic Travel & Safari Clothing Company. The Zieglers, one a travel journalist and the other a sketch artist, founded their company with a commitment to use craftsmen from small factories all over the world and to promote their traditional techniques and workmanship. I remember as a teenager in the eighties, feeling as if I was preparing to go on a worldly adventure as I thumbed through their hand-drawn catalogs where each piece had a description of where it was made, the uniqueness of the fabric, and the bespoke qualities that made it so special. Their over-the-top travel-themed retail stores made “adventure shopping” fashionable. With movies like Out of Africa, Romancing the Stone, and Raiders of the Lost Ark popular at the time, everyone wanted to get the travel-inspired linen and leather look and Banana Republic was their one-stop shop.
With a vintage safari jeep at the entrance, and palm trees sprinkled throughout, I couldn’t wait to shop for my Australian schoolbag and my rolled-up khaki safari shorts with matching linen shirt. Unfortunately, at the time, the only adventure I was going on was down the street and through the high school hallways of 9th grade. Banana Republic made travel fashionable and now they are doing it again through their BR Home collection.
Banana Republic has evolved over the past thirty-plus years, but perhaps most notable is its remarkable transformation over the past two years. Once hailed as the go-to brand for travel-centric workwear, it has gracefully shifted gears, reinventing itself as a haven for quality fashion staples. Walk into a Banana Republic store today, and you’ll find a curated selection of sumptuous cashmere sweaters, elegant silk pieces, and tailored suits that ooze luxury.
But that’s not all. Beyond the monochromatic looks and mesmerizing displays of carefully curated accessories from around the globe (like the jaw-dropping Caralarga Collection from Mexico), Banana Republic is embarking on an exciting new adventure. This journey transcends the boundaries of fashion and steps right into the heart of the home.
Banana Republic has always had a knack for infusing a touch of wanderlust into your wardrobe. Whether it’s linen shirts that transport you to the Mediterranean or leather accessories that evoke the bustling streets of Marrakech, they’ve mastered the art of globetrotter chic. And with BR Home, they’re taking that same spirit and infusing it into the home.
Designed with the modern urban dweller in mind, those who value sophistication and quality in every aspect of life, the collection introduces three key expressions, each representing distinct design aesthetics that can harmoniously coexist for a modern living space. There’s Textured Modern, a fusion of classic and contemporary; Classic Chic, celebrating traditional forms and signature shapes; and Explore, deeply rooted in global influences.
Aaron Rose, Chief Commerce and Experience Officer for Banana Republic commented, “This dynamic collection celebrates the beauty of high-quality natural materials and skilled artisans, creatives, and those designers whose work reflects our brand values and allows us to support craftsmanship communities around the world.”
This resonated with me. Last October I visited Morocco for the first time and saw how important it was to support these local villages, especially in light of what has happened in the past week with the devastating earthquake that hit the region. The art of hand-making rugs and tapestries has been passed down from generation to generation and it shows through their skilled workmanship.
Beyond the commitment to quality, what I love most is that whether you’re embarking on a full-scale home makeover (like me) or simply seeking to add a touch of elegance, the extensive offerings, boasting thousands of new pieces (yes, thousands!), cater to everyone. From bold statement pieces that steal the spotlight to subtle accents that effortlessly tie a room together, the assortment embodies the brand’s dedication to offering the very best in both fashion and lifestyle.
You can see this collection in person at the brand’s Soho store in New York, and soon at a stand-alone location on Melrose in Los Angeles. They also promise that key pieces will make appearances in select locations across the United States by the end of September.
BR Home is like the exclamation point to a remarkable evolution of Banana Republic – one that invites you to embrace style and sophistication and acts as your passport to a well-curated and well-lived life.