Banana Republic was founded by Mel and Patricia Ziegler, a pair of world travelers known for collecting clothing items that were unique. The couple opened their first store in Mill Valley, California.
Today, the company operates as a subsidiary of Gap, Inc. Currently, there are 642 locations around the US, Canada, and other countries, including Japan and Malaysia. While the company was founded in unique items, today it is more focused on luxury brands. In October of 2017, one manager was fired after telling an African American employee that her box braids were not “Banana Republic Material”.
The company announced in September of 2017 that they would be closing stores that were under performing, while refusing to disclose which store locations would be affected.
In April 2021, Memphis native Prep Curry was hired by Banana Republic as its newest design partner.
Headquarters for Banana Republic are located in San Francisco, California.