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Old Navy Critics Declare Victory in Battle Over Plus-Size Jeans

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Critics of Gap Inc.’s Old Navy won concessions from the clothing chain after complaining that they were overcharged for women’s plus-size jeans.

Old Navy store | Source: Shutterstock

NEW YORK, United States — Critics of Gap Inc.’s Old Navy won concessions from the clothing chain after complaining that they were overcharged for women’s plus-size jeans.

While Old Navy didn’t say it would change its prices, the company will let customers return plus-size apparel at stores beginning on Dec. 5. In the past, customers had to ship the clothing back to the company, which only sells its plus-size products online.

A Change.org petition criticizing Old Navy’s policies gathered more than 95,000 signatures, prompting the chain to make the changes. The campaign called Old Navy sexist, noting that while a pair of women’s plus-size jeans can cost about $15 more than regular jeans, men’s jeans are priced the same no matter how big they are.

Old Navy has argued that its women’s items are specifically designed and manufactured for plus-size customers and cost more to make — distinguishing them from men’s versions. The company has a separate team of designers and merchants working on its women’s products to adjust them for fit and style.

Still, Old Navy is trying to make amends. In addition to allowing the in-store returns, the company will form a customer panel that meets four times a year beginning in January to discuss plus-size fashion and product feedback, said Edie Kissko, a spokeswoman for San Francisco-based Gap.

More Communications

“We will do a better job communicating the value we provide to plus-size customers and begin forging a stronger relationship with customers,” Kissko said. “Clothes are meant to be empowering, flattering and a way to express your personal style. Old Navy is proud of the clothes that we create for fashion-forward women of all sizes.”

The petition, posted on Nov. 4, also asked Old Navy to start selling the plus-size apparel in stores — something the company hasn’t yet agreed to do. Old Navy said women’s plus-size items will continue to be priced at a higher level because they are crafted differently.

Even so, Renee Posey, the woman who began the petition, called the campaign a success today in a note on Change.org.

“Your voices have made a major retailer stand up and take notice that the way they have been doing business with their plus-sized female customers is not OK and changes need to be made,” she said.

By: Lindsey Rupp; editors: Nick Turner and Niamh Ring.

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