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


ethical alternatives to old navy - ABLE


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


Known Supply

2. Known Supply

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


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.


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.


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.


ethical alternatives to old navy


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


7. The Good Tee

If you’re looking for basics with a twist, The Good Tee makes fair trade and eco-friendly t-shirts, sweatshirts, and more for the whole family.


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.


ethical alternatives to old navy

9. Krochet Kids

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


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.


ethical alternatives to old navy

11. Miakoda

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


More ethical alternatives here.


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:

Leah Wise

Leah Wise is the founder of StyleWise Blog. She has been writing, speaking, and consulting on sustainable fashion, the fair trade and secondhand supply chain, and digital marketing for over ten years. An Episcopal priest, Leah holds a B.A. in Religion from Florida State University and an M.Div. from Yale Divinity School. When not working, you can find her looking for treasures at the thrift store.

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

  2. Colleen Kobyleski

    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.

    1. 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:

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

    1. So glad you found it helpful!

  5. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. I apologise for seeming like I was assuming your economic location. And as someone who also makes less than 15,000 a year this article made me feel like the clothes that I buy means that I’m not doing what I should for the environment. I took it personally and shouldn’t have. I was not trying to attack your person, I was trying to bring up a point from a person who has lived in poverty most of my life.

        1. I really appreciate this conversation and know that people who identify themselves as “ethical consumers” can often be really oblivious to a range of inaccessibility issues (I have waffled back and forth on messaging over the years, especially when it comes to size issues), so thanks for your vulnerability in sharing. While I think we can all ask ourselves questions about how we engage in the social and economic systems we live within, the fact that we live in a meritocracy that somehow assumes wealthier people are also more moral is a huge problem. In most cases, the opposite is true. I changed the language in my post to more explicitly call out corrupt systems that affect Americans and other imperializing nations rather than inadvertently putting the onus on low income people to do the work.

  6. Do you have more stores that offer clothing for tall and full figured women? I’ve shopped at Old Navy, Gap and Banana Republic since I was a child because they offer tall size clothing and I have been 5’11 since I was 11 yrs old and now wear a size 16/18 in adulthood. I need Tall clothing with long inseams. None of these accommodate my height and size.

    1. I don’t know of any brands that fit the most rigorous criteria and offer adequate tall sizing at this time. I often buy my jeans at American Eagle because they have some sustainability initiatives with their denim. I often need a tall + curvy fit for my proportions. When it comes to these types of fit situations, I always advocate buying what fits you the best.

  7. How can you say these are comparable to Old Navy when the prices are so much higher? You said your family shopped old navy because they couldn’t afford Gap yet sites here have dresses for 150 dollars to old navys 30. I’m sick of being made to feel bad because unlivable wages, high taxes, and insane rent leaves me with only enough money to shop places like old navy, Walmart, target. Instead of sharing the lower class maybe we should focus on providing people a living wage so they can afford to shop more ethical stores.

    1. Thank you so much for chiming in here. Price inaccessibility is a really serious issue, and one that is very much on my radar. While this post is meant to offer one way of thinking about alternatives, I have written several posts on the topic of price barriers, which I have linked to below. The reality of sustainable shopping is that it inherently holds a higher price point, but that is changing some as fair trade scales. I completely agree that we can’t ask people to make choices on behalf of some other person’s living wage if WE aren’t even being paid a living wage! As someone who made far less than a living wage while in the full time workforce and as someone currently on Medicaid, I agree with you. This is a shame-free zone. Not shopping according to the particular standard set forth in this post does not make YOU an unethical person – don’t listen to anyone who tells you that.

    2. thrifting is also a good solution to these issues bc its recycling clothes through different owners, so glad to see more people thrifting now than ever, instead of being obsessed with fast fashion and wearing the “latest trend”

      1. Definitely. I love thrifting! But there are some items and sizes that are very hard to find on the secondhand market, so it’s always good to keep thinking through alternatives.

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