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Banana Republic is known for being an upscale retailer - but it has its roots in a safari store!

All about Banana Republic

Originally selling ‘safari-inspired’ clothes, Banana Republic switched to a more classic look and upscale market when it was acquired by GAP Inc. It all started with Mel, a writer, and Patricia, an artist, and from the beginning it was clear it would be an unusual company.

Even though they didn't know much about the retail business, they managed to create a unique company with original clothes and advertising material. It all changed when GAP bought Banana Republic but the original spirit can still be noticed in their stores and clothes range. The brand's global style ambassador is Olivia Palermo. 

Looking for Banana Republic coupons or discounts? Their website is a good place to start, and you can get more information about their BananaCard loyalty card and special offers. You can also check out the most recent offers right here. 

The history of Banana Republic

Banana Republic was founded in 1978 by Mel and Patricia Ziegler, who liked collecting and selling interesting things they picked up on their travels. The original store had catalogues filled with hand-done drawings of the items they had for sale, alongside stories about adventurers of all types.

In 1983, it was acquired by Gap and the style went a lot more mainstream with a focus on more luxurious items than the Gap sells. Today, there are over 500 Banana Republic Stores spread across the United States, as well as around 100 outside the U.S.  

Banana Republic used to be a total niche safari brand.

Today, Banana Republic is a place to get chic clothing, but it actually used to sell legit safari clothing. We’re talking shirts with huge cargo pockets, pith helmets and bush vests here. 

When you walked into the shop, it’d be filled with tropical plants, a real, running stream that went through the middle of the shop, and a bush plane salvaged from the actual bush. If you were looking for the shoe department, you’d find it inside the hut. And you couldn’t miss the WWII Army Jeep balanced on top of a display of boulders in the front window.

Today, everything from the décor to the clothing is streamlined, chic, and glossy. The change happened when the store got bought by the Gap. Slowly, the jungle theme was phased out to make way for the store we know today. 

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