Move aside Calvin Klein, another major retailer has a "plus-size" controversy on its hands.
Old Navy has come under fire for up-charging women for plus-size clothing and—insult, meet injury—not doing so for men. A Change.org petition was started to change the company's pricing policies, and now has over 34,000 supporters. Renee Posey, who started the online petition, offers an example of the uneven pricing:
"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," Posey wrote.
She continues: "Old Navy even takes it one-step further, by separating out 'Women's Plus' clothes into a completely different section of the website, but keeping all of the mens clothes together...For a company like Old Navy, who claims to be inclusive and strives to provide affordable clothing for everyone, this practice completely undermines their mission."
Liz Nunan, a spokesperson for Gap, Inc., the conglomerate that owns Old Navy, issued a statement on the company's behalf to explain the price discrepancy between men and women's plus-size clothing.
"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," Nunan said. "This higher price point reflects this selection of unique fabrics and design elements."
However, the upset speaks to a larger issue: Gendered pricing extends beyond the clothing arena. Forbes reports that women spend on average $1,400 more a year than men on basic drugstore products, imported goods and at the doctor's office.
Whether or not Old Navy will change the pricing on women's plus-size clothing remains to be seen, but the company's swift response is indicative of the power that a consumer outcry can have. In recent weeks, Victoria's Secret revised a questionable (and model-laden) "Perfect Body" campaign, while Topshop responded to feedback that its store mannequins are scary-skinny.
Calvin Klein also spoke out over the conversation regarding Myla Dalbesio, one of the models featured in the underwear brand's "Perfectly Fit" campaign. At a healthy size 10, Dalbesio represents a large number of woman who are in between the normal measurements for plus-size and the size 0 or 2 fashion model.
Controversy over the use of the term "plus-size," however, was misdirected—Calvin Klein never introduced Dalbesio as their "first plus-size model." The confusion was likely spurred by social media and an Elle interview that appeared online last week, in which Dalbesio stated: "It's not like [Calvin Klein] released this campaign and were like ‘Whoa, look, there's this plus-size girl in our campaign.' They released me in this campaign with everyone else; there's no distinction. It's not a separate section for plus-size girls."
So tell us: What do you think about Old Navy's plus-size pricing policies?