Is an edit of OG vintage pieces enough to make Banana Republic relevant again?

I’m slightly obsessed with all these MOR American companies trying to make themselves great relevant again. After J Crew’s appointment of Noah’s Brendon Babenzien and Gap’s new Yeezy Gap partnership, Banana Republic just launched its latest initiative, a delve into its heritage and a refresh of brand perception.

Last Thursday it launched BR Vintage, a 225 piece curation of original Banana Republic safari jackets, khakis, baggy military shorts and tees from the 80s to early 2000s. The vintage collection was available online, with the Flatiron flagship store selling an additional selection available in-store only. It sold out within days, with reports of further drops to come later. “Banana’s style is relevant in any time. It’s a way for us to use the magic of archives and heritage to attract a new audience,” said recently appointed Chief Brand Officer, Ana Andjelic.

Banana Republic BR Vintage

Bringing this re-set to life was a Pamela Hanson shoot (above), perfectly encapsulating the 80s ‘lifestyle adventurer’ vibe that would be followed by many brands in years to come. (In fairness, Ralph Lauren invented the lifestyle trope. There were umpteen ‘fashion lifestyle’ brands of this ilk in the 1980s – I mean, even Next was considered in this cool vein once upon a time.)

Why is this interesting? I think people are finding comfort in nostalgia now. Both the Gen Xs who lived it and the Gen Ys and Zs who wish they did. (Andjelic: “Our stuff on Depop is, like, lit.”). Past this initial burst of positive reinvention, it remains to be seen if Banana can sustain interest and seize relevance again. With consistency, quality and conviction, hopefully it can.

WORDS: Disneyrollergirl / Navaz Batliwalla
IMAGES: Banana Republic BR Vintage
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