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Ethical Alternatives to Old Navy: 15 Better Brands

Ethical Alternatives to Old Navy
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Ethical Alternatives to Old Navy

When I started to make the switch to more ethical clothing, I was under the impression that Old Navy and GAP products were made with high labor standards due to their Corporate Social Responsibility statement. But then I learned that these statements don’t guarantee enforcement. Thus, the need for ethical alternatives to Old Navy.

In reality, GAP Inc. (the parent company for GAP, Old Navy, Banana Republic, and Athleta) has committed some of the worst and most public labor violations, including being linked to Rana Plaza, which collapsed, killing 1,129 people in 2013. They’ve also gotten in trouble for child labor. You can read more on this question here.

So, reluctantly, I decided to make a clean break with Old Navy a few years ago. It’s been a great decision for a number of ethical reasons, of course, but it also helped me break free from a single style and experiment a bit more.

There were also a few ethical brands that aided me in my transition. They’re necessarily more expensive than conventional retailers because they use eco-friendly materials and pay fair wages, but I think you’ll find that they hold up longer than anything you can buy at Old Navy.

A Note on Price Accessibility

Price accessibility is a really important issue to me, and I understand that those shopping Old Navy often do so for financial reasons. While the below options may not work for you, please know that this is not a place for shame.

“Ethical” purchases do not equate to ethical people, because people are not their purchases. Wage stagnation and un/underemployment are systemic issues on a global scale, products of extraordinary disregard for equity and flourishing. That includes those of us living in the US and other imperializing nations. I have included a list of posts on this topic at the end of this blog post.

This post focuses on women’s and adult clothing. Check out my recent post on Sustainable Kids’ Clothes for more suggestions.

Contains affiliate links

Ethical Alternatives to Old Navy: 15+ Better Brands

STRONG ETHICAL AND/OR SUSTAINABILITY STANDARDS

ethical alternatives to old navy - ABLE

1. ABLE

Contemporary, fashion-forward clothing, shoes, and accessories with lots of color. ABLE publishes their wages and prioritizes sustainable production.

SHOP HERE.

Known Supply

2. Known Supply

Fair trade tees and knit cotton pieces for women and men with customizable options

SHOP HERE.

3. PACT Apparel

Organic cotton, fair trade basics. Shop undies, socks, tights, and flattering clothing made with quality materials. I recommend their cotton tights, a comfortable and thick alternative to standard tights.

SHOP HERE.

4. Quince

Quince uses a factory-to-consumer model to offer lower prices on ethically-sourced goods. With men’s and women’s clothing, classic leather accessories, and even bedding, it’s a great option for high-quality items at lower prices than expected.

SHOP HERE.

ethical alternatives to old navy

5. Everlane

Everyday clothing with a decisive point of view made with factory transparency, better-than-average wages, and an increasing number of recycled and organic textile options. While Everlane has made some serious missteps this year, their organic and recycled collections make them an incrementally more sustainable choice than Old Navy.

SHOP HERE.

ethical alternatives to old navy

6. KOTN

Classic and flattering t-shirts, blouses, pants, and more for any gender. Made with traceable Egyptian cotton.

SHOP HERE.

7. Entireworld

Sweats and separates in a range of colors for any gender. Made with more sustainable materials in small batches.

SHOP HERE.

8. EcoVibe Apparel

Trend-driven clothing made with eco-friendly and vegan materials, and/or produced in the USA with a more affordable price point.

SHOP HERE.

ethical alternatives to old navy

9. Krochet Kids

Fashion forward cotton tees, jumpsuits, dresses, and knitwear. Fair trade production.

SHOP HERE.

ethical alternatives to old navy

10. Thought

A diverse line of classic and printed clothing, socks, and loungewear for women and men, made ethically with eco-friendly practices.

SHOP HERE.

ethical alternatives to old navy

11. Miakoda

Modern lounge and athletic wear made with eco-friendly fabrics, made in NYC.

SHOP HERE.

More ethical alternatives here.

FAIR TRADE AT BIG BOX STORES

12. Free Assembly

Wal-Mart’s more sustainable line (the denim is fair trade certified).

13. Universal Thread

Fair trade certified denim and more sustainable knits at Target.

14. Madewell

A selection of Madewell’s clothing is fair trade certified.

BETTER SIZE ACCESSIBILITY + some ethical initiatives

15. American Eagle

Some denim made with more sustainable practices. Offers curvy fit, plus size, tall, and petite sizes.

16. Universal Standard

With a mission to fit every woman, Universal Standard offers denim, lounge, and more with more thoughtful practices.

Ethical Alternatives to Old Navy - Pinterest Pin

This post was originally published in 2016. It was updated in October 2020.

Posts on Affordability and Ethical Fashion:

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The Dress Code: Shopping for Functional, Ethical Leggings is Exhausting

Monday 14th of June 2021

[…] For a great list of ethical, relatively affordable alternatives to Old Navy, see here.  […]

Colleen Kobyleski

Thursday 11th of March 2021

All I see when I look at those other brands is stick figure models. Old Navy offers plus sized affordable clothing that is stylish. It may not be ethical but until there are more options for plus sized people companies like Old Navy will keep going.

Leah Wise

Thursday 11th of March 2021

You're absolutely right that this list isn't very size inclusive. Though the last five - Free Assembly, Universal Thread, Madewell, Universal Standard, and American Eagle - all offer plus size options and some also have curvy fits. I have made a concerted effort in newer posts to pay more attention to sizing and it's in part to comments like yours. Thank you!

Here are some posts with better sizing options: - https://stylewise-blog.com/sustainable-jeans-pear-shapes-plus-sizes/ - https://stylewise-blog.com/ethical-sustainable-patterned-clothing-passion-lilie/

Heidi

Saturday 20th of February 2021

Thank you for this article and for the comments!!! I do agree that many of these companies are expensive, but the links you provided to brands at Target and Walmart are great. ALL ethical brands are going to be much more expensive, simply b/c organic materials and fair wages obviously cost more than crappy cheap petroleum based garments and slave wages in third world countries. I can’t afford many of these brands, but sometimes if I shop off-season I can get some pretty good prices. You even prefaced the whole article with the statement of not shaming!! I appreciated the conversation between yourself and E Bass... E Bass....just by you being aware of being environmentally conscious, you are ahead of 80% (probably more) of the population!! We need to applaud each other for whatever small steps we can take and I applaud everyone who even took the time to read the post!!! I hope I am coming across as sincere and not combative toward the commenters. I mean to encourage not diminish.

Lynn

Wednesday 2nd of December 2020

Thank you, I loved this article, very informative and exactly what I was looking for! I am a thrifter from time to time and depending on whether I choose to shop new or thrift, this will definitely come in handy!

Leah Wise

Wednesday 2nd of December 2020

So glad you found it helpful!

E. Bass

Friday 23rd of October 2020

I really think that this click baity and classist title should be changed. You have attracted people that cannot afford these " alternatives " to Old Navy. I saw your statement upon not feeling shame when reading this article and figuring out you can't afford ANY of it. Not only does that fuel shame but also there is Shane that you are not concerned about the environment or unethical labor bI think it comes from very privileged place to tell people that they should not feel shame for their economic situations. Lastly it's a pandemic and an economic recession and I think it's in bad taste.

Leah Wise

Friday 23rd of October 2020

I'm on Medicaid and have never made more than 30,000 per year. I am 32 years old, have a college degree, and have struggled to find gainful employment. Don't assume you know my social location. How could I have possibly intended to attract anyone other than precisely the people searching for more ethical alternatives to Old Navy? That's the whole point of the article. I encourage you to read my other think pieces on price accessibility. There is simply NO WAY around price increases when it comes to purchasing more sustainable goods; however, that does NOT MEAN that people who can't afford these goods are unethical, because people are not their purchases. Additionally, I have included fair trade lines from big box stores, an edit made based on reader feedback like yours. Make whatever decision you need to make for you; I actually mean that.

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