OPINION: Why Manhattan needs an Old Navy

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Courtesy photo by Wikimedia Commons.

It’s no secret that Manhattan leaves much to be desired in the retail realm. Maybe blame it on the Johnson County in me, but for a woman who lives by the mantra “shopping is my cardio,” it’s sad to say I can count the number of stores I shop at here on one hand.

If there’s one thing I believe this city deserves, it’s a dependable and affordable apparel retailer like Old Navy.

As a college student, I thoroughly enjoy budget-friendly stores. The Marshalls in West Loop Shopping Center is one I frequent often, and while I love the thrill of every trip feeling like a treasure hunt, it’s unreliable when I’m shopping for something simple, yet specific.

Old Navy, on the other hand, has an inventory that can continuously fulfill both my basic and trendy clothing needs at the same affordable price point.

Since 1994, Old Navy has been known for producing timeless basics including $12 T-shirts, $20 shoes and sweaters and $30 jeans. On average, these prices are about 40 to 50 percent cheaper than what you can find even in Old Navy’s parent company, Gap. Despite the low prices, the closet staples I’ve bought from Old Navy have lasted years and years.

The store’s affordable array of business-casual clothing could also prove beneficial to a city full of professionals and college students. I’ll never forget the first time a professor told me to dress business casual for class two days prior. Oh, how I wish I would have had Old Navy’s colorful array of Pixie pants to run to.

An Old Navy in Manhattan wouldn’t just appeal to college-aged female shoppers either. The store runs the gamut, providing an ample variety of clothing for women, men and children of all ages.

Its subtle inclusion of trendier pieces has kept the store on my radar in recent years as well. While Old Navy is not a fast-fashion company, it has appeared to me to slightly accelerate its supply chain in order to stay relevant to younger shoppers. Gingham patterns, off-the-shoulder necklines, high-waisted swimwear and both mule and bow sandals have been seen lining its racks this season.

The addition of more trendy clothing in the women’s section may also be an effort to stay afloat during the retail apocalypse, the closing of a significant number of brick-and-mortar retail stores since 2010. According to Business Insider, Old Navy’s parent company Gap has struggled in recent years, leading to around 200 store closings.

By contrast, budget-friendly Old Navy has seen positive sales growth in the past five years, according to Business Insider. It appears to have found its frugal, fashion-forward niche.

Art Peck, CEO of Gap, told CNBC on April 23 that the Old Navy brand will be opening 60 new stores this year. I think both my wallet and my closet would be happy to hear Manhattan added to the list.

Autumn Mock is a junior in mass communications. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to opinion@kstatecollegian.com.

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