Banana Architects

A few weeks ago I heard about Banana Republic's new advertising campaign that features "architects at work." I have yet to come across their print ads, but the other day I saw these displays at their Rockefeller Center store.

Gawker interviewed an architect about the portrayal of architects in these ads. "Frankie" said, "in my experience no architects dress like that - the Liebeskind [sic] eyeglasses and black turtleneck/blazer, German expressionist style is still the bottom line at most nyc offices. Most people are executing variations on this basic Sprockets-y theme."

To me, it doesn't really seem to matter which profession Banana Republic uses as a backdrop (or in the case of the windows "frontdrop") for their M.O.R. clothes, as long as it appeals or relates to their target demographic. It is interesting, though, how the symbols of architecture -- some mythic, some anachronistic -- are used to connote who is wearing them; take away these objects and it could be practically anybody or, to paraphrase Frankie, anybody but architects.


  1. Is that Ann Coulter in the window?

  2. i def don't dress like those folk in the windows, but the very thought of dressing like liebeskind makes me ill. black is not allowed in my office. nor are thick glasses. they scare the clients ;-)

  3. True, they're missing the macs, cutting edge graphics and foam models with weird shapes.
    Nevertheless I dress somewhat like that LOL

  4. It does not matter at all how architects actually dress. The add works because "architecture" is cool to the average person. Just like actual architects might not wear the clothes, they are also not really that cool once you know us. Luckily that matters little as all they need to do is sell clothes. Plus, its always nice to see architecture getting exposure in any way possible. The more publicity we can get the better, maybe some day it will lead to people making a better living as architects.

  5. It's always been my experience that any form of architecture is highly romanticized in film, print, or other media. Most architects seem to be bent over a drafting table sketching wonderful plans and renderings in the absence of any computer or making presentations with 6 ft. height models to large boardrooms. None of which shows the true nature of many whom spend countless hours staring at their monitors like good CAD monkey should. Or sifting through page after page of Zoning and Building Ordinances. Etc. Then I guess most professions are glamourized for the sake of appeal.

  6. Anonymous is right... the architectural profession is always highly stylized in public media. The idea of the artistic intellectual is so glamorous... people just like the concept of what they think architects should be.

    I'm sure everyone has had an experience, where when meeting someone new, they seem so impressed to meet an architect... a professional and an artist. Too bad these impressions don't translate into relative pay.

    I think what is really interesting about the banana republic ads is not whether of not architects really dress like that, but the image that bn is trying to portray. If they can convice you that this is what highly intellectual, cultured professionals, with an independent artistic streak wear... then you'll surely buy into their clothing line. Because isn't this the image most people want to portray?!? And how interesting, that they think that you (the public) think the architectural profession portrays this more than any other... I'm sure that anyone in market research would agree... that is precisely why there are so many architects in the movies and tv.

    Its actually quite brilliant marketing.

  7. Actually, there are a few offices where architects actually dress like prepsters shown in the BR ads.

    If you've ever walked through Bob Stern's office, you see a lot of pastelly shirts, etc.

    But these ads really piss me off, because all of the "architecture" in them is so retrograde. The plans on the walls of the stores are actually plans of the stores themselves.

  8. I wonder if architects will receive a professional courtesy discount on this line of apparel?


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