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
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.
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.
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.
With a mission to fit every woman, Universal Standard offers denim, lounge, and more with more thoughtful practices.
This post was originally published in 2016. It was updated in October 2020.
Posts on Affordability and Ethical Fashion: