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08/18/2021

Old Navy rolling out size-inclusive shopping experience — in stores and online

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Old Navy has launched a major initiative in body inclusivity that includes a major change in its stores.  

As part of an initiative called “Bodequality” that will launch on Aug. 20, the Gap-owned apparel retailer will offer every one of its women’s styles, in every size, with no price difference. Old Navy said it will be the first value retailer to offer sizes 0-30 and XS-4X for all women’s styles at price parity.

As part of the initiative, the retailer said it is transforming its fleet of more than 1,200 stores and online shops into fully size-integrated shopping experiences. All women’s styles will be merchandised together, with no special sections for extended sizes.

In addition, stores will feature visual inclusive "cues" for shoppers, including mannequins in sizes four, 12 and 18, and new Bodequality marketing imagery. Store employees will participate in extensive customer-focused training to help support the Bodequality program.

Online, Old Navy is merging its women’s and women’s plus collections from the site’s navigation menu to provide one size-integrated shopping destination for sizes 00-30. The updated site will showcase women’s styles on models in sizes four, 12 and 18, and shoppers can use a new toggle feature to select their preferred default model display size.

Old Navy’s new push comes as the market for plus-sizes — a term that has no set definition but that some retailers define as over size 14 – is growing. Coresight Research has estimated that extended-size market for women in the U.S. will grow to $32.3 billion this year, representing roughly 20.7% of the total women’s apparel market. (The Coresight estimate is for sizes 18 and over other estimates put the value higher.). Apparel retailer Altar’d State is also making a push into plus-sizes, with plans to launch freestanding stores. 

Old Navy has tapped Saturday Night Live and Shrill actress and comedian Aidy Bryant as the face of its Bodequality marketing campaign. The extensive campaign, which will launch on Aug. 20, will include a television spot. Bryant will participate in the TV placement, as well as content extensions on Instagram and TikTok.

 “We saw an opportunity to meaningfully change the women’s shopping experience by making it more inclusive regardless of size,” said Nancy Green, president and CEO of Old Navy. “Bodequality is not a one-time campaign, but a full transformation of our business in service to our customers based on years of working closely with them to research their needs. I’m proud of the collaboration across our Old Navy teams to evolve the retail experience for women.”

In 2018, Old Navy debuted dedicated Plus shops in 75 U.S. stores, and in 2019 transformed 30 of these locations into size-integrated concept stores. Old Navy applied learnings from these store concepts with customer feedback from years of shop-alongs and focus groups to help design Bodequality.

 The Bodequality marketing campaign also includes an “open letter to women everywhere,” which will be broadcast in emails, on the company website,  digital billboards (with one in New York City's Times Square) and a variety of advertisements, including on the New York City subway,  reinforcing Ole Navy's commitment to size inclusion. There will also be a full-page ad in Aug. 22’s New York Times. In all, there will be close to 500 placements. 

 Bodequality Fit Process 

Designing and making clothing that fits well in a variety of sizes is no easy task. Old Navy said that in order to roll out its inclusive sizing strategy it reinvented its fit process and size standards after years of extensive research. The process included the following steps:
•    Administering body scans of 389 women to create digital avatars based on real women’s bodies;
•    Running fit clinics with models in sizes 20-28 to build new fit blocks based on their unique proportions, revamping the industry practice of scaling up from smaller sizes;
•    Ensuring every design detail - from pocket placement and their proportions, to denim waistband pitch and ankle tapers, to the body lengths of dresses, tops and outerwear - offers consistency in fit and aesthetic across styles and sizes;
•    Partnering with full-time fit models in size eight and 20 to review every single style on both women side-by-side; and 
•    Interviewing hundreds of women about body image and related fashion concerns.

 “Developing Bodequality allowed us to rethink the way we serve women in the retail industry," said Alison Partridge Stickney, head of women’s and maternity merchandising at Old Navy. “We set out to understand what women of all sizes wanted from fashion and the shopping experience and were inspired to revolutionize every area of our business -from how we fit and design our products, to how we communicate to customers in stores and online -to ensure that all women feel welcome and represented. This launch is a transformative moment for our brand and the fashion industry.”

[Read More: Gap turnaround gaining traction]