Banana Republic is a well-known low-end luxury fashion retailer, that many people will be familiar with.
But for the most part, people are less familiar with Banana Republic Factory, and there’s often confusion about how this relates to the main Banana Republic brand.
So, is there a difference between Banana Republic and Banana Republic Factory?
Banana Republic and Banana Republic Factory are two separate subsidiary companies of Gap Inc. Banana Republic stocks merchandise of higher quality and higher cost. Banana Republic Factory has slightly lower quality merchandise manufactured specifically for Banana Republic Factory at an affordable price.
That’s the answer in brief.
But let’s get to discussing it in more detail – just keep reading to find out more.
Banana Republic Vs Banana Republic Factory: Main Differences
First things first, let’s talk about the main differences that set apart Banana Republic and Banana Republic Factory.
One of the first differences between Banana Republic and Banana Republic Factory that comes to mind is the general cost of the merchandise.
Being the main retail brand, Banana Republic can be expected to be more expensive on the whole compared with Banana Republic Factory.
Factory brands are usually specifically marketed to be a more affordable version of the main retail brand, and this general rule applies to this situation.
Let’s take sweaters for example.
A men’s sweater from the Banana Republic Factory brand can be estimated to cost somewhere in the region of $40.
On the other hand, a sweater from the main Banana Republic brand can set you back upwards of $100.
Obviously, these are price estimations and can vary depending on what sales are being held at the time, and from year to year, so it’s always best to check the up-to-date prices on the brand websites for yourself.
But as you can see, we can make a generalisation that Banana Republic Factory merchandise is less expensive than Banana Republic merchandise.
2. Clothing Lines
Another interesting difference between Banana Republic and Banana Republic Factory, is the fact these two brands have mostly separate clothing lines.
By separate clothing lines, I mean that Banana Republic Factory rarely gets overstock or old season items from the main Banana Republic retail brand.
Instead, most of the Factory items are designed and created specifically to be sold through the Banana Republic Factory stores and website.
This is common to many factory stores of popular clothing and fashion brands nowadays.
With Banana Republic, Factory clothing designs are sometimes copied from the main clothing line of Banana Republic.
You can therefore find some great bargains for items that look the same as the mainline clothing at a much-reduced cost.
As we’ve discussed already, the price of items that you can pick up from a Banana Republic Factory store is less than that of Banana Republic merchandise.
If you’re producing similar style items at a much lower cost, there has to be a sacrifice somewhere in order to offer great prices to customers.
Banana Republic Factory clothing, although of decent quality for the price, is usually made in lower-quality materials compared with Banana Republic clothing.
For example, when shopping at Banana Republic Factory, you’re more likely to find clothing made of cotton-polyester blend material, i.e. their clothing is more likely to have a higher synthetic material content.
At Banana Republic, a higher proportion of clothing is made of 100% cotton fabric, wool, or silk-linen blends, which are generally of higher quality.
Now, this isn’t always the case, as you can find 100% cotton fabric clothing at Banana Republic Factory also. It is simply less common than at the main Banana Republic store.
And if you’re lucky, you might find some rare old season or overstock merchandise from Banana Republic at a Factory store, which of course will be of the same quality as the mainline clothing.
Overall, however, you can expect that the quality of items at Banana Republic Factory is less than that of Banana Republic, which can be expected given the cost difference.
Another difference between Banana Republic and Banana Republic Factory is one which offers a practical way to tell their merchandise apart.
The labels of items from Banana Republic Factory feature three small diamonds, whereas Banana Republic merchandise labels do not.
Also, the lettering on Banana Republic Factory labels is often brown or bronze in color, whereas Banana Republic labels usually feature white letters on a navy background, or sometimes the reverse.
Having a look at the label to see if there are any diamonds is, therefore, a quick way to tell if an item is from Banana Republic or Banana Republic Factory.
5. Separate Subsidiaries
Something that a lot of people may not realise, is that Banana Republic and Banana Republic Factory are two separate subsidiaries of Gap Inc.
Other affiliated subsidiaries of Gap Inc include Old Navy, GapKids and Old Navy Outlet.
In other words, Banana Republic and Banana Republic Factory are two separate companies owned by a parent company, i.e. Gap Inc., and are not two branches of the same company.
Practically speaking, this won’t have much impact on your shopping experience, but it is another difference between Banana Republic and Banana Republic Factory.
6. Returns Policy
A more practical difference between Banana Republic and Banana Republic Factory, is the returns policy.
A common misconception is that you can return merchandise purchased from Banana Republic Factory to a Banana Republic store, and vice versa.
Actually, it isn’t possible to do this, and items must be returned to the appropriate store, i.e. Banana Republic items to Banana Republic, and Factory items to Banana Republic Factory stores.
You also can’t return items from Banana Republic and Banana Republic Factory to any Gap stores.
Another difference between the returns policies of Banana Republic and Banana Republic Factory, is that the Factory brand has a more generous returns policy.
At the time of writing, the Banana Republic Factory online store allows up to 60 days to return or exchange an item that you aren’t happy with.
On the other hand, at the time of writing Banana Republic allows up to 30 days to return an item purchased online, and this is due to be reduced further to 14 days.
However, as returns policies can change over time, it’s best to check the brand website for up-to-date information if you need to make a return.
7. Separate Websites
Finally, another difference between these two brands is the fact that they have different websites.
This is similar to other clothing brands, such as Guess and Guess Factory, which also have separate websites.
Instead of sharing a webspace, Banana Republic actually shares a website with Gap, and Banana Republic Factory with Gap Factory.
There’s not a lot to say about this difference, other than make sure you are on the correct website when shopping online.
Banana Republic Vs Banana Republic Factory: How To Choose
Now that you know the main differences between Banana Republic and Banana Republic Factory, let’s discuss some of the factors to consider when choosing between the two.
Let’s get started.
An important consideration with every purchase is knowing your budget.
Obviously in this scenario, your budget will have a pretty big impact on your decision on whether you shop at Banana Republic or Banana Republic Factory.
As we have already discussed, Banana Republic Factory is overall cheaper to shop from than Banana Republic. Therefore if your main concern is keeping prices low, by shopping at Banana Republic Factory you’re more likely to achieve this.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that Banana Republic often hosts sales on its websites and in-store, and a lot of the time these sales involve significant reductions.
You wouldn’t be surprised to see 40%-50% off sales at Banana Republic.
When you factor in these reductions, you can actually sometimes get Banana Republic merchandise at a similar price point to what you’d expect to find at Banana Republic Factory.
So don’t discount Banana Republic completely if you’re tight for cash, as you may be pleasantly surprised.
We’ve already discussed how you can expect a quality difference between Banana Republic merchandise and Banana Republic Factory merchandise.
As I explained before, the quality of the materials used to manufacture the more expensive Banana Republic merchandise is generally better, with a higher proportion of 100% cotton or wool or silk/linen clothing.
Therefore, you can expect to get a longer lifespan out of merchandise purchased from Banana Republic compared with that from Banana Republic Factory, which is more often made of polyester blend or other synthetic materials.
So, if you prefer to invest a little extra cash to get a high quality product that will last you for years and through many washes, then choosing Banana Republic over Banana Republic Factory may be preferable to you.
3. Shopping Online Vs In-Store
Another consideration when deciding between Banana Republic and Banana Republic Factory, is whether you prefer to shop online or in-store.
This is because, if you live outside of the US, it is likely going to be harder for you to find a brick-and-mortar Banana Republic Factory store than a Banana Republic store.
Therefore, if you live outside of the US and prefer in-store shopping, then Banana Republic is your main option.
This is less of an issue in the US, where there are more Banana Republic Factory stores scattered around in different outlet malls.
However, if you are happy to shop online for your clothing, then you can have access to both Banana Republic and Banana Republic Factory clothing in many places around the world.
I hope that after laying out all the ways in which Banana Republic and Banana Republic Factory are different, you now have a better idea of how to choose between these two great clothing brands.
Whichever you decide to shop from, you are sure to find some items that you love.
Ready Sleek founder. Obsessed with casual style and the minimalist approach to building a highly functional wardrobe. Also a fan of classic, vintage hairstyles.