Banana Republic is an American clothing brand founded by Mel and Patricia Ziegler in 1978 as a travel-themed clothing company; it has subsequently largely eliminated this tropicalor travel-related theme. The company was bought by Gap in 1983. Banana republic has over 500 stores located internationally.
The original Banana Republic was founded by Mel and Patricia Ziegler in1978. It was a two-store safari and travel-themed clothing company. The majority of sales came from its eccentric, hand-illustrated catalog, which presented high-end and unique items with chatty, usuallyfictional backstories from exotic locations, as well as more pedestrian high-volume products deliberately spiced up with a similar treatment. As Banana Republic expanded its retail operation, itbecame known for the themed decoration in its stores, often featuring authentic elements, such as real Jeeps and foliage, as well as atmospheric elements, such as fog and steam.
The Gap, Inc. acquiredBanana Republic in 1983, eventually rebranding it as a mainstream luxury clothing retailer. The eccentric tourist-oriented items were phased out and were replaced with more luxurious, but less unique,items for which the brand is currently known. To set itself apart from Gap as a more up market brand, Banana Republic occasionally buys and refurbishes historic buildings for its retail locations.Milestones
* 1978 - The first Banana Republic store opens in Mill Valley, California.
* 1979 - Banana Republic begins to distribute a Safari and Imported Surplus Catalog.
* 1983 - The Gap,Inc. acquires Banana Republic - a two-store mail-order safari and travel clothing company.
* 1984 - The Banana Republic Summer 1984 catalog reaches over one million people. Catalog orders are 50% ofsales.
* 1988 - Banana Republic opens its 100th store.
* 1988 - Banana Republic discontinues its Travel & Safari catalogs.
* 1990 - The Gap, Inc.'s 1,000th store opens - a Banana...