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Company Info and History: Banana Republic is a chain of "casual luxury" clothing stores owned by Gap Inc., which also operates Gap, Old Navy, and Forth & Towne clothing stores. The original Banana Republic was founded by Mel and Patricia Ziegler in 1978. It was a two-store safari and travel-themed clothing company. The majority of sales came from its eccentric catalog, which presented high-end and unique items with chatty, usually fictional, backstories from exotic locations, as well as more pedestrian high-volume products deliberately spiced up with a similar treatment. The company competed directly with the J. Peterman catalog later satirized on the TV show Seinfeld. As Banana Republic expanded its retail operation, it became known for the themed decoration in its stores, often... more

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