Sunday, April 20, 2008

Let there be Vintage on Etsy... Republic of Vintage

In March I began looking through my own private collection of "vintage" clothing. I have been collecting special items since the 70's and 80's because I was a fashion student and I love clothing, design, fabric, color, textiles and so on and so on.....Finally I decided to move some of that out and since it was truly vintage and Etsy allows vintage.... well here it is......

I have added something new .... no something old, to my Etsy Shop... Vintage. The Republic of Vintage is a section in my shop for my extensive collection of 80's and older fashions. This maybe news to some of you but there is really no industry standardizing when it comes to size, so if you order from me please double check the measurements. Also the manufactures have changed the sizing over the years. Many of my collection includes Banana Republic items.....the history of this brand is interesting to me and I also hope to you.

****** Banana Republic began in the late 70’s by Mel and Patricia Ziegler (husband and wife), traveled extensively. They searched for clothing from the various “military surplus” type stores they enjoyed shopping in and created comfortable travel outfits. Some of the original designs were made by taking those surplus items and redesigning them into a new, more comfortable and wearable garments. In the true spirit of the recycle/handmade pledge, long ago, they searched those "surplus" stores around the world to remake and redesign for themselves and ultimately for the Banana Republic line of clothing. Safari adventure and travel was a hot theme in the 80’s, movies like “Indiana Jones”, and “Out of Africa” fueled the desire for Banana Republic clothing. The retail stores themselves took on a safari/adventure theme with bamboo lined walls and elephant tusks decorating the doorways. Pith helmets, Israeli paratrooper brief cases and hats like Indiana wore, all available. The items offered by Banana Republic were designed in such a way, as to fit a wide size range. Many of the dress, jacket and shirt designs were over sized and were designed to be worn with a belt to define the waist, adjustable hook and loop at key spots allowed the wearer to remain comfortable and have some control over the fit. Over sized jumper-dresses remain a comfortable classic today. By the late 80’s Banana Republic had been sold to the Gap but Mel and Patricia continued on as the company head and design team. Banana Republic expanded and published a catalog that was a treat to read, filled with adventure stories and charming names for each jacket, hat and document folder. The precursor of internet shopping, catalog ordering; a simple phone call to the 800 number would insure your longing for the “French Lieutenants Woman Cape” or the “Photojournalist vest” would be satisfied and at your door post haste! The company changed in many ways after Mel and Patricia stepped away, by 1990 the original label had changed to a simple grey one, and the focus became upscale luxury clothing. Vintage Banana Republic will have actual bananas on the label, along with a star and the words Banana Republic (sometimes also Mill Valley California).

I was in college during the 80’s and my degree? Oh YES, FASHION!, so many of these “Republic of Vintage” items came from my own closet, or they are items I have obtained and collected through exhaustive searching at estate sales and such over the years.

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