After a petition garnered nearly 27,000 signatures, Old Navy has finally addressed why their plus-size women’s clothes cost more than their straight-size counterparts - though there is no difference in price in men’s clothes, regardless of size.
Liz Nunan, a spokesperson for Gap Inc., which owns Old Navy, told BuzzFeed in an email, “Old Navy is proud to offer styles and apparel designed specifically for our plus-size female customer, which includes curve-enhancing and curve-flattering elements such as four-way stretch materials and contoured waistbands, which most men’s garments do not include.” She continued, “This higher price point reflects this selection of unique fabrics and design elements.”
The petition, started by Renne Posey, claimed that the price difference was discriminatory and read, in part, “[the disparity in price] indicates sexism and sizeism on the part of Old Navy that is unfair to women of size and unacceptable to me as a consumer of Old Navy's products.”
The petition also gave specific examples of sizeist and sexist discrimination on Old Navy’s website.
“Old Navy’s Rockstar Super Skinny Jeans cost $27 in a size 6. The same jeans in a size 26 cost $40. Alternatively, the men’s Slim-Fit Jean costs $25-no matter the size.”
The separation of men and women was an issue listed in the petition.
“I don’t understand why myself and women like me are being singled out and forced to pay more by Old Navy, when our male counterparts are not,” it read.
The plus-size market, which is defined as anything above a size 14, makes up 67 percent of the population. Because plus-size women often have a different body shape, the kind of clothing made to suit that market requires different materials and designs. Old Navy has a design team specifically for their plus-size line, and they pay special attention to flattering the shapes of plus-size women and picking the right fabrics.
Image via Old Navy