old navy shirtOld Navy is the latest -- and perhaps biggest -- retailer chain to jump on the gay pride bandwagon. Starting next Monday, the company will be selling four different rainbow-emblazoned "pride" T-shirts for men, women, and babies. Ten percent of the shirt's proceeds will go toward the It Gets Better Project.

The fact that Old Navy (owned by Gap, Inc., which owns Gap, Banana Republic, and Piperlime) is coming out with these is not exactly shocking -- even in spite of its magnitude. Retailers and fashion houses have been supporting the gay community for forever now. But there does seem to be a sudden burst of (really outspoken) gay pride support (and of course apparel) available from the fashion world these days. Are they striving for social justice, or are they just out to make a buck?

There's no doubt that the companies -- most people in them, at least -- actually support gay marriage, etc. I don't think the emotion behind their messages is false. It may be a stereotype, but it's true -- the majority of the fashion world is run by women and gay men.  However, the main purpose of fashion designers and retailers is to, well, sell clothes. Maybe it's partly to do with Glee, but gay pride is hotter than ever right now. Not to mention the fact that the gay community possesses a buying power of over $800 billion! And if you really want to get down and dirty here, mygayweb shows that:

  • Gay men and lesbians go out more, buy more, have more disposable income, and are extremely loyal consumers.
  • Gay and lesbian consumers purchase from companies/brands that advertise in gay media, deliver product messages in gay-specific advertising, support gay and lesbian community causes, and are good to their own gay and lesbian employees.

Interesting, right? That Gap, Inc. might be on to a thing or two. As well as J.Crew, who featured a same sex couple in its catalogue and who started Pink Toe-Gate, and American Apparel, who sells oodles of its "Legalize Gay" T-shirts. Other, more high-end designers, like Kenneth Cole and Marc Jacobs, have featured limited-edition gay swag.

It's nice that these companies are coming out to support such a worthy cause, but it's safe to assume that if these items aren't turning around as fast as the companies would like, they'll be booted from the shelves in exchange for something else. You know what they say about fashion: One day you are in, the next you are out.

What do you think of the Old Navy gay pride T-shirts?

 

Image via Old Navy