Founded as a single store by Donald G. Fisher and wife Doris, The Gap, Inc. has evolved into a major retail company with well known brands, including its namesake, Banana Republic, and Old Navy. The firm sells a variety of casual-style and urbane chic clothing to men, women, and children in over 4,250 stores across the United States and in Canada, France, Japan, Germany, and the United Kingdom. The Gap flourished through the 1980s and 1990s under the leadership of Millard "Mickey" Drexler but has battled tough times in the early years of the new century. Drexler retired in 2002, and Paul Pressler was named CEO while Fisher remained chairman.
Donald Fisher was not of the generation to whom The Gap owes its popularity. A member of a family that made its home in California for generations, Fisher was 40 years old and a successful real estate developer in 1969 when he took note of a new trend among the city's increasingly disaffected youth. Blue jeans, for years made chiefly by Levi Strauss & Co. for laborers and outdoorsmen, were suddenly becoming a part of the counterculture's standard costume. Durable, cheap, comfortable, and acceptably offbeat, jeans were the perfect uniform for a generation of young people anxious to demonstrate its antipathy to corporate America.