History

Gap was founded in 1969 with a simple idea — make it easier to find a pair of jeans that fit with a commitment to do more. In the 50+ years since, the company has grown into seven brands, and our initial commitment to do more has grown into a global ambition to champion equality, inclusivity and sustainability.

We take pride in creating products our customers love while doing right by our customers, community and planet.

Circa 1969 Gap Ocean Ave store

1969 - 1979

Don and Doris open the first Gap in 1969 in San Francisco, The Gap Stores, Inc. “goes public” with an initial offering of 1.2 million shares of stock at $18 per share and more.

Don and Doris opening first Gap store

1969

Don and Doris open the first Gap store at 1950 Ocean Avenue in San Francisco, California. Men's Levi's jeans and record tapes are the only items for sale.
The second Gap store opens in San Jose

1970

The second Gap store opens in San Jose. At 6,500 square feet, half of the space is configured as a stock room. Gap begins selling Levi's for gals.

1972

By its third anniversary, Gap has grown from one store to 25. Fisher Enterprises launches a second retail venture, Pants%ff!, “the discount pants store, “ on Columbus street in San Francisco.

1974

The first Gap-label products appear in our stores.

1976

The Gap Stores, Inc. “goes public” with an initial offering of 1.2 million shares of stock at $18 per share.

1977

The Gap Stores, Inc. launches two new chains of stores: Logo, targeting a more mature and fashion conscious customer and Brands, offering value-priced products.

1978

“Gap Fashion Pioneers,” Gap’s in-house label of jeans and corduroys, debuts.

1980 - 1989

Gap Inc. purchases Banana Republic, a two-store safari and travel themed retail store and catalog business founded in Mill Valley, California, Gap brand expands outside the United States for the first time and more.

1981

The first SuperGap, a store format nearly double the size of a standard Gap store, opens in Concord, California. It is intended to compete with Miller’s Outpost, a competitor that recently opened extra-large stores.

1982

Gap partners with Dodge Motors to raffle off 18 Dodge Chargers during the Back-to-School season.

1983

The Gap Stores, Inc. purchases Banana Republic, a two-store safari and travel themed retail store and catalog business founded in Mill Valley, California in 1978.

1984

Gap introduces its iconic Pocket-T in 21 colors.

1985

Michael J. Fox wears the Gap Pocket-T in Back to the Future.

1986

The first GapKids store opens in San Mateo, California.

1987

Gap expands outside the United States for the first time, opening several stores in London.

1988

The now-iconic blue square Gap logo debuts mid-year, replacing the round, lowercase letters in use since 1969.

1989

The first Gap store in Canada opens in Vancouver, British Columbia.

1990 - 1999

Supermodels wearing Gap white denim jeans and woven shirts grace the cover of Vogue Magazine’s 100th anniversary issue, Gap, Inc. stock price reaches an all-time high of $59, the first Old Navy store opens and more.

1990

babyGap debuts in the GapKids store at Laurel Village, San Francisco.

1991

Maggie Gross, Gap Senior Vice President of Advertising and Marketing and the creator of the Know-How and the Individuals of Style campaigns, is included into the Retail Advertising Hall of Fame.

1991

Gap announces that at the end of 1991, Levi’s products will no longer be sold in Gap stores.

1992

Supermodels wearing Gap white denim jeans and woven shirts grace the cover of Vogue Magazine’s 100th anniversary issue. The Gap, Inc. stock price reaches an all-time high of $59.

1993

The Who Wore Khakis ad campaign debuts with vintage black and white photographs showing legends such as Ernest Hemingway and Gene Kelly wearing khaki pants.

1994

The first Old Navy store opens in Colma, California, based on the successful prototype, Gap Warehouse. The brand’s new name is inspired by a bar in Paris.

1994

Gap Outlet stores open their doors as part of the new Gap Factory Outlet division.

1995

Gap and GapKids stores open inside of Tokyo’s Hankyu department store, with freestanding stores opening soon after.

1996

Sharon Stone stuns the fashion world by showing up at the Academy Awards wearing a black Valentino skirt, a velvet Armani coat, and a $26 mock turtleneck.

1997

Old Navy reaches $1 billion in annual sales, making it the first retailer to do so in less than four years.

1998

The Seinfeld series finale features both Gap’s Khaki’s Swing ad and an Old Navy ad featuring Carrie Donovan and Magic the Dog.

1999

The San Francisco Chronicle names Gap Inc. “Company of the Year” out of 500 top companies in Northern California. Gap launches “1969” jeans, a limited series of premium denim jeans.

2000 - 2009

Old Navy expands internationally, Madonna and Missy Elliot star together in a Gap commercial to promote the Fall season’s corduroys and blue jeans and more.

2000

The first Old Navy Outlet store opens. OldNavy.com opens for shopping.

2001

Old Navy expands internationally, opening stores in Canada.

2003

Madonna and Missy Elliot star together in a Gap commercial to promote the Fall season’s corduroys and blue jeans.

2004

Gap Inc. founder Don Fisher steps down as Chairman of the Board, continuing to sit on the board of Directors with the title Chairman Emeritus.
Banana Republic First Store Front in Japan

2005

Banana Republic opened its first store in Japan. The store was located in Printemps Ginza in Ginza, Tokyo.

2006

Gap partners with (RED), a brand launched by Bono and Bobby Shriver, releasing a line of products from which half the profits support disease-fighting programs in Africa.

2007

Gap Foundation, in partnership with vendors and non-governmental organizations, launches the P.A.C.E. (Personal Advancement & Career Enhancement) program, which teaches life and work skills to women who work in the garment factories where our products are made.

2008

Athleta, a women’s activewear catalog company founded in 1998, is acquired by Gap Inc.

2009

Don Fisher, co-founder of Gap Inc., passes away.

2010 - 2019

Athleta opens its first brick-and-mortar store, Janie and Jack, a high-end children’s store, is acquired by Gap Inc. and more.

2010

Gap opens in China with stores in Shanghai and Beijing and Gap.cn launches for online shopping.

2011

Athleta opens its first brick-and-mortar store, located on Fillmore Street in San Francisco.

2011

Banana Republic’s Mad Men collection, a unique collaboration with the Emmy Award-winning television show’s costume director, Janie Bryant, hits stores. Two more collaborations follow in 2012 and 2013.

2012

Banana Republic designs uniforms for Virgin America, joining a long history of notable fashion designers who created airline uniforms.

2012

Old Navy begins featuring celebrities in TV commercials. Included is “Cheermageddon” starring George Takei, which debuts on Black Friday.

2013

Gap Inc. acquires Intermix, a 32-store chain of luxury boutiques across North America, founded in 1993 by brothers Khajak and Haro Keledijan. Intermix opens a store on Bowery in Manhattan, its first new store since joining Gap Inc.

2013

Gap Inc. forms Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety to improve factory conditions in Bangladesh.

2014

Gap Inc. announces that the starting minimum hourly wage for US store employees will increase to $9 in 2014 and $10 in 2015. Gap Inc. is the first major retailer to do so. President Barack Obama makes a surprise visit to a Gap store in Manhattan to show his support.

2015

Gap Inc. pledges to expand the P.A.C.E. program and advance the lives of one million women by 2020. This will be achieved, in part, by Gap Inc. offering access to the P.A.C.E program to global partners and other corporations.

2016

Athleta launches the brand’s first TV ad.

2017

Gap and Old Navy open flagships in Times Square, NY showcasing the look of the new fleet.

2017

Gap debuts the “90s Archive Reissue” featuring iconic product from that decade.

2018

Hill City launches, a high-performance, men’s lifestyle brand.

2019

Banana Republic reissues the “Dissent Collar” and it sells out in one day.

2019

Gap celebrates 50 years!

2019

Janie and Jack, a high-end children’s store, is acquired by Gap Inc.