Banana Republic was founded in Mill Valley, California in 1978 by Mel and Patricia Ziegler as an army surplus import business. As their supplies began to dry up, they began to manufacture copies of some of their most popular items. By the early 1980s, most of their merchandise was designed and made for them, and the surplus disappeared from their catalogs and stores.
Both the stores and the catalogs had a vintage travel theme. The catalogs read like travelogues, and the stores were decorated in a safari theme. It was almost like being in a 1940s movie, with jungle sounds and 1940s music playing in the background.
In 1983, the company was bought by The Gap. The Zeiglers were kept on by Gap to run the company but they left in 1988. The safari and travel concept was phased out, and by 1990, it was totally gone. Today, Banana Republic is categorized by Gap as an “Affordable Luxury” line.
Written by Lizzie Bramlett, fuzzylizzie.com