The Banana Republic is an apparel and accessories retailer owned by American global corporation Gap Inc. It was founded in 1978 by Mel and Patricia Ziegler with a safari idea; in 1983, Gap acquired the company and gave it a more upscale image. Banana Republic has over 600 stores placed internationally.
Mel and Patricia Ziegler founded the original Banana Republic in 1978. The Gap, Inc. acquired the Banana Republic in 1983, eventually rebranding it as a mainstream luxury clothing retailer. The scholarly articles, hand-drawn catalog, and unusual tourist-oriented items were phased out and were replaced with more expensive, but not unique, items for which the brand is currently known (as of 2012). To set itself apart from Gap as a more upmarket brand, Banana Republic occasionally buys and refurbishes historic buildings for its retail locations.