Is Old Navy Fast Fashion? Brand Analysis + Alternatives

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If you’re here, you may be wondering, is Old Navy fast fashion, or is Old Navy Ethical?

Then you’re in the right place, as we’ll take a deep dive into the brand, asking questions like where Old Navy’s clothes are made and what materials the brand uses.

Old Navy is a retail brand founded in 1994 by American retail giant GAP Inc. The brand creates budget clothing essentials for the whole family and has expanded its ranges to include plus size and maternity collections.

In 2021 Old Navy surpassed $9 billion in sales, making it a key asset in the Gap Inc. portfolio. Old Navy operates online and in-store and operates over 1,200 stores in the US, Mexico, and the world. The brand is owned by parent company GAP inc. which parents Old Navy’s sister companies Banana Republic, Gap, and Athleta.

Is Old Navy Fast Fashion?

Yes, we would consider Old Navy a fast fashion brand.

The brand mass produces thousands of styles in large quantities based on rapidly changing trends and retails its apparel at a low price point – a concept that follows the fast fashion model. For example, at the time of this article, Old Navy had over 3000 different women’s styles alone.

Is Old Navy Fast Fashion

We also feel the brand promotes the over-consumption of its clothing by using regular promotions and points schemes to encourage customers to buy more clothing.

What Materials Does Old Navy Does Brand Use?

Old Navy mainly uses natural fibers such as cotton, synthetic fibers including polyester, and manufactured cellulosic fibers such as viscose to create its collections.

Due to cotton and polyester damaging the environment, parent company Gap Inc. has set targets for its brands to source their textiles more sustainably.

Old Navy has the following goals for sustainable textile sourcing:

  • Old Navy aims for 100% of its cotton to be sustainably sourced in 2022 and to increase its use of recycled cotton in its denim collections. In addition, the brand reports that it is on track to source 100% of its cotton from more sustainable sources.
  • Old Navy has a target to source 60 percent of its polyester as recycled polyester by 2025. The brand has not given an update on the current percentage of recycled polyester sourced. Still, we would like to see Old Navy go further and follow the target set by sister company Gap to use only 100% recycled polyester by 2030.

Is Old Navy Carbon Neutral?

No, Old Navy is not a climate-neutral brand. The Gap Inc. company aims to be carbon-neutral by 2050 across its value chain, however, have only set a 30% target of GHG emissions reduction in its supply chains (Scope 3) by 2030. In 2021, Gap Inc reduced its Scope 3 emissions decreased 25% from its 2017 levels.

Old Navy is transparent about its carbon emissions, you can find a full breakdown of GHG emissions here, and the progress towards its targets is shown below.

Is Old Navy Ethical

Where are Old Navy Clothes Made?

While Old Navy doesn’t disclose its suppliers, parent company Gap Inc. discloses a complete list of its Tier 1 suppliers.

The company partners with hundreds of factories worldwide, with the majority in Vietnam, China, and India.

Is Old Navy Ethical?

Old Navy produces its clothing in countries with a record of poor labor standards and human rights issues. Likewise, gap Inc. factories aren’t certified by ethical labor associations like Fair Trade.

Old Navy and the Gap Inc. group set a code of vendor conduct to which all suppliers must adhere. The code details policies such as no child or forced labor, conditions for chemical management, and policies surrounding workplace health and safety.

Suppliers are audited against the code of vendor conduct, and assessments are carried out by Gap Inc., International Labour Organization (ILO), Better Work, and the Social & Labor Convergence (SLCP) Program. Facilities are then scored on a traffic light system; green, amber, and red.

  • Green: Facilities with no critical and few violations.
  • Yellow: average performers
  • Red: facilities that need to address one or more severe issues

Gap Inc. has targeted 80% of its sourcing from green-rated factories by 2030. However, as of 2021, only 68% of Gap Inc.’s sourcing volume was from green-rated factories, 32% coming from amber-rated facilities, and <1% from red-rated factories.

While it is good to see the brand publishing its audit scores, we feel its current sourcing target is poor. An improvement would be for the brand to only work with 100% green-rated factories to ensure full compliance with its code of conduct.

In addition, Gap Inc. publishes a full breakdown of its audit scores from 2015-2021, and while we can see an improvement in compliance with its COVC over recent years, there are still some issues remaining. For example, 15.7% of its factories don’t provide workers with one day off in 7 days, and 4.8% have a noncompliance with machine and equipment safety regulations.

The brand also doesn’t demand that its garment workers be paid above a living wage, and only specifies that:

Workers shall be paid at least the minimum legal wage or a wage that meets local industry standards, whichever is greater. The facility is encouraged to provide wages and benefits that are sufficient to cover workers’ basic needs and some discretionary income.

Overall, we believe that Old Navy and Gap Inc. should be doing more the ensure all of its factories comply fully with its code of conduct and that workers in its facilities should be paid a living wage.

Plus, Old Navy only scored 49% overall in the Fashion Transparency Index which, although above many other large retail brands, still leaves a lot of room for improvement on its brand transparency and disclosure.

Is Old Navy Vegan and Cruelty-Free?

No Old Navy is not a completely vegan brand as it uses some wool in its products.

Does Old Navy Have A Clothing Recycling Program?

No currently, Old Navy does not provide a recycling program; however, the brand works with thredUP, Give Back Box, and How2Recycle to promote clothing recycling.

Ecothes Opinion: Sustainability Rating

Overall we rate Old Navy a moderate score of 2.5/5.
What we liked:
We like the transparency of the parent company GAP inc. and the fact that it publishes its audit scores within its supply chain and carbon emissions.
We like that the brand is sourcing 100% of its cotton from sustainable sources.
What we didn’t like:
Only 68% of its Gap Inc. facilities are green-rated, while the company still works with factories that have some noncompliance with its code of conduct.
We didn’t like the low target for recycled polyester replacement (set at only 60%).

5 Sustainable Alternatives to Old Navy

Some great sustainable brands are already using recycled and sustainable materials to create their collections. Plus, the brands listed only produce clothes in small batches, making them a great alternative to fast fashion brands like Old Navy.

1. Pact

Pact ethical alternatives to Old Navy

Sustainability: GOTS certified organic cotton and Fair Trade certified ethical production.

Best for: Affordable, ethical basics for the whole family

Ships to: Worldwide

Pact sustainable alternative to Old Navy

2. Fair Indigo

Fair Indigo ethical alternatives to old navy

Sustainability: Organic cotton, Slow fashion, ethical production.

Best for: Organic t-shirts, women’s, men’s, and kids’ wear

Ships to: The US & international

Fair Indigo sustainable brands like Old Navy

3. For Days

For Days sustainable alternatives to Old Navy

Sustainability: Zero-waste, circular supply chain using recycled materials

Best for: Casual wear for women, men, and children

Ships to: the US only

For Days kids wear

4. The Good Tee

The Good Tee

Sustainability: Organic cotton, ethical supply chain

Best for: Organic cotton t-shirts, Dresses, Tanks

Ships to: the US

The Good Tee

5. Krochet Kids International

Krochet Kids Intl

Sustainability: Responsible materials, small batches, handmade clothing

Best for: Knit scarves, hats, t-shirts

Ships to: the US & international

Krocket Kids intl

Are you surprised with the article or do you want to find out if other brands like Hollister, J. Crew, Madewell, and Urban Outfitters are fast fashion? Then check out the rest of our brand ratings.

Bethany
Bethany

Bethany Worthington BSc (Hons) (she/her) is the Sustainable Fashion Editor and Co-founder of Ecothes. She has a passion for the environment, and a long love of all things clothing, and combines those two interests with Ecothes. In her free time she loves dancing, hiking in the countryside, and laughing with friends.

Articles: 162

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