Old Navy

Old Navy
Industry Retail
Founded March 11, 1994 (1994-03-11)[1]
Headquarters San Francisco, California
Number of locations
Key people
Sonia Syngal (Global President)
Products Clothing
Parent Gap Inc.
Website OldNavy.com

Old Navy is an American clothing and accessories retailer owned by American multinational corporation Gap Inc.[2] It has corporate operations in the Mission Bay neighborhood of San Francisco. The largest of the Old Navy stores are its flagship stores, located in New York City, the Mall of America, Seattle, Chicago, and San Francisco.


In the early 1990s, Target Corporation looked to establish a new division, branded as a less expensive version of Gap;[3] Drexler responded by opening Gap Warehouse in existing Gap outlet locations in 1993.[4]

In March 1994, Gap Warehouse was renamed Old Navy Clothing Co. in order to establish a separate image from its parent.[3][5] It was named after a bar in Paris. The new stores were about 15,000 square feet (1,000 m2), compared less than 10,000 square feet (900 m2) for Gap Warehouse stores.[6] On March 11, 1994,[1] the first Old Navy locations opened in the northern California towns of Colma, San Leandro and Pittsburg[6][7] According to Kevin Lonergan, Gap's director of stores, Old Navy stores were intentionally designed like grocery stores, with flowing aisles, shopping carts, and small impulse items near the checkout counters.[1] The cement floor, metal shelving, and checkout counters built from polished pressed board and galvanized metal gave the stores an industrial warehouse feel, while the colorful arrangements and large number of employees working set it apart from other discount clothing stores.[1][8] Later that year, 42 other Old Navy stores opened, and most of the 45 Gap Warehouse stores were renamed Old Navy.[6]

Old Navy had campy television ads featuring Morgan Fairchild and its mascot, Magic the dog.[9]

The Old Navy division grew quickly; in 1997, it became the first retailer to pass $1 billion in its first four years in business, and opened 500 stores by 2000. In 2001, Old Navy began its international expansion with the opening of 12 stores in Ontario, Canada.[3]

The brand also experimented, opening a coffee shop inside one location in San Francisco in December 1995,[10] and opening an Old Navy Kids location in Littleton, Colorado, in April 1997.[11]

The third Old Navy logo, used from 2005 through 2009.

In 2005, Old Navy's then-president Dawn Robertson looked to address the competition she saw in Hollister Co. and American Eagle Outfitters by rebranding the division with a "high fashion feel". In addition to a new logo, several locations were built or remodeled to reflect the "New Old Navy.";[12] one such location in St. Petersburg, Florida cost roughly $5 million to develop. Unlike the traditional industrial warehouse style most Old Navy locations possess, the new stores were boutique in nature, featuring green building materials, rock gardens, large murals and posters, as well as many mirrored and silver accents. Also, advertisements began to be created in-house, and substituted the original kitschy and humorous feel for a high fashion and feminine directive.[13] These stores proved to be a disappointing investment and Robertson was asked to leave the company.

In 2011, Old Navy began a second rebranding to emphasize a family-oriented environment, known as Project ONE. It targets Old Navy's target customer (the fictional "Jenny", a married mother of at least one child) and features better lighting, vibrant colors, layouts that make shopping easier, quick-change stations, and a more efficient cash wrap design. By July 12, one third of the company's North American locations had adopted the redesign.[14]

In 2012, after several years of Old Navy losing sales to rival retailer H&M, Gap Inc. hired away H&M executive Stefan Larsson to run its Old Navy division. Larsson instituted a number of changes, including hiring designers away from Coach, Nike, Reebok, and North Face to design exclusive Old Navy clothing. By 2015, Old Navy's yearly sales had reached $6 billion per year in the United States, almost equaling those of Gap's Gap and Banana Republic divisions combined. [15]


An Old Navy neon sign logo in Queens, New York.
The Old Navy flagship store in the Philippines was opened on March 22, 2014, located at Bonifacio Global City.

Flagship stores also have "collection" business clothes for women, and maternity sections. Previously, Old Navy attempted to launch a bath and body line, called ONbody (Obsessively Natural).[16] Old Navy is known for their signature denim wall of styles that never change. The styles are super skinny, skinny, original, and boot-cut, and are available in four different washes.

Most stores are separated into seven different sections: women's, men's, girl's, toddler girl's, boy's, toddler boy's, and baby.



In December 2015, Old Navy released a series of T-shirts for toddlers with the words "Young Aspiring Artist" on it, but with "artist" crossed out and replaced with either "astronaut" or "president". The T-shirt's message angered artists and art enthusiasts,[19] which created the hashtag "#ArtIsACareerToo" on Twitter.[20]

An Old Navy representative has stated that the stores will be pulling the shirts from its shelves as a result of the controversy.

"At Old Navy we take our responsibility to our customers seriously. We would never intentionally offend anyone, and we are sorry if that has been the case. Our toddler tees come in a variety of designs including tees that feature ballerinas, unicorns, trucks and dinosaurs and include phrases like, “Free Spirit.” They are meant to appeal to a wide range of aspirations. With this particular tee, as a result of customer feedback, we have decided to discontinue the design and will work to remove the item from our stores."

The shirts are no longer available on the English website. However, the shirts are still available to buy on the official Chinese website.[21]


  1. 1 2 3 4 "Gap Makes Commitment To New Discount Chain - 3 'Old Navy Clothing Co.' stores will open today". The San Francisco Chronicle. March 11, 1994. p. B1.
  2. "Old Navy". Gapinc.com. Retrieved March 2, 2013.
  3. 1 2 3 "History of Old Navy, Inc. – FundingUniverse". Fundinguniverse.com. Retrieved March 2, 2013.
  4. "JSOnline.com News Archives". Nl.newsbank.com. March 25, 1998. Retrieved September 4, 2012.
  5. Power, Gavin. "Gap Posts Best Sales, Earnings". the San Francisco Chronicle. March 4, 1994. p. E1.
  6. 1 2 3 Power, Gavin. "Gap Posts Best Sales, Earnings". The Sane Francisco Chronicle. March 4, 1994. p. E1.
  7. "Women's & Men's Clothes: Plus Size, Maternity, Baby & Kids' Clothing". Old Navy. Retrieved September 4, 2012.
  8. Storm, Stephanie. "Old Navy launches new wave for Gap Inc." The Denver Post. May 31, 1994. p. E1.
  9. Emert, Carol. "Old Navy Launching `Award-Winning' Ads". The San Francisco Chronicle. March 4, 1997. p. C1.
  10. Howe, Kenneth. "Gap Opens Coffee Shop in Old Navy Store". The San Francisco Chronicle. December 6, 1995. p. B1.
  11. Emert, Carol "Old Navy Chain Is Trying Out Separate Shops For Kids' Togs". The San Francisco Chronicle. May 17, 1997. p. D1.
  12. "Business: Old Navy trying new look". Sptimes.com. Retrieved September 4, 2012.
  13. "Old Navy May Still Be at Sea". Businessweek. November 25, 2009. Retrieved September 4, 2012.
  14. Holmes, Elizabeth (November 18, 2009). "Old Navy's Renewed Zest Is Likely to Lift Gap - WSJ.com". Online.wsj.com. Retrieved March 2, 2013.
  15. Tabuchi, Hiroko (May 17, 2015). "Old Navy Thrives After a Style-Conscious Rebirth". New York Times. Retrieved July 18, 2015.
  16. "ON Body". Old Navy. Retrieved September 4, 2012.
  17. "2013 awards".
  18. "BICEP homepage".
  19. "People on Twitter are lashing out over these discouraging kids shirts from Old Navy".
  20. "#ArtIsACareerToo on Twitter.com".
  21. "Old Navy Chinese website".
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