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Do You Remember The Banana Republic Clothing Store?

I just bought the book, Banana Republic Guide to Travel & Safari Clothing. The art and creativity of that book, indeed of that company in its hay day made my mouth water. Once upon a time the store, in its original Safari Clothing setting, existed in San Diego, California.

Created by Mel (a writer) and Patricia (an artist) Ziegler, I frequented that store for it was like going to a miniature Disneyland, with a jeep at the entrance, and Safari clothing creatively presented throughout the store. Their Catalog was a work of art. I wish I had kept the ones that were regularly delivered to my mail box.


Thumbing through that book set me off wondering it I could find real clothing, in natural fibers of unusual design and function. That was the intention of the Zieglers, although their intention was to go an an adventure with the motto: In Surplus We Trust.


Armed with $1500 in savings and an American Express Credit card, they set off, and in Madrid, they discovered Spanish Paratrooper shirts. They were thrilled to buy them by the pound, but when they arrived at the San Francisco docks, they found the container was also filled with airplane parts. The shirts? Well, the sleeves fell more than an inch above Mel's wrist.


Patrica asked, "Well who wears their sleeves rolled down anyway?"


"Not a a man who would appreciate a shirt like this."Mel said.


So they sold the shirts at a flea market for $6.00, with the story that the little fascist tyrant Franco would not permit long-armed Spaniards into the Paratrooper Corps, which naturallty accounted for the short sleeves.

Those sales paid off their American Express card.


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