Tik Toks depicting negative Brandy Melville experiences have flooded the video sharing platform’s home page, calling out the brand’s one-size policy on most items and non-diverse image. As someone whose closet is 80% Brandy Melville and is wearing an item of theirs while typing this, it seemed like a relevant topic to write about.
Let’s start with some background. Brandy Melville is an Italian clothing brand for teen girls founded in 2009. It boasts locations across America and many other Europeans countries, but is most popular in California and New York. The store is incredibly popular among my age group for having relatively inexpensive yet trendy clothes with vintage and thrifted feel, which has made a comeback in the past years. What sets it apart from its competition, is its unique and limited sizing. In addition, its unconventional way of hiring employees and harmful social media presence have been called to attention.
While browsing through a Brandy Melville store you will primarily find items marked “one- size” or, in some rare circumstances, a pair of mom jeans with “small” written on the tag. At least in the stores I’ve been to, I have never seen an item deliberately tagged as a medium or above. Their oversized pieces could unintentionally fit these sizes. The main backlash the company faces is that their “one size” is really an extra small or small, and isn’t available to anyone who doesn’t fit this “ideal.” Created to make shopping easier and free of complicated sizing, this feature excludes a large portion of women since the American average for a woman’s size is a 16 while Brandy Melville caters for a 4 at most. In today’s standards of celebrating those who are skinny, the company aids this incorrect view. Many women have reported feeling upset after Brandy Melville clothes didn’t fit them, lowering one’s self-esteem.
Their social media promotes this image as well. Every model featured on their Instagram is skinny and tall, 9 times out of 10 they are white. The comments section of each post contains people asking for more diversity in its sizes and ethnicities featured on the website and social media. A person of color wearing their clothing hasn’t been posted in over a year. In this day and age, I would expect to see prejudice overcome and an even representation of ethnicities, and so do the company’s followers/ customers who beg on each post to feature someone who isn’t 5’11, tall white and skinny. Despite this, their account has close to 4 million followers, and it doesn’t look like this number will be dropping anytime soon.
Another problematic aspect of the brand is its hiring method. Employees are never asked to fill out an application and have a traditional interview. You can fill out their application but unless you have been scouted by a current employee, the chances of getting a job there are pretty slim. People who fit the brand’s “look” are asked for their Instagram username and to have a photo of their outfit taken from head down- which is a little strange. Based off the YouTube videos I’ve watched filmed by girls who were scouted to work there, they then DM you asking for a job if your Instagram matches their criteria (unclear what that is). Basically, it’s at the manager’s discretion and solely based on your style and looks whether you are hired, hence why many of the employees are often unhelpful, unfocused, and caught giving shoppers rude looks.
Now that I have torn Brandy Melville to shreds, I need to explain why I- yes- still shop at their store frequently. Although it makes me feel incredibly guilty shopping at a store with so many questionable characteristics, the items match my style, typically fit me, and is more affordable than similar brands like Urban Outfitters and Aritzia. While I do not support any of their views, I continue to wear their clothing because boycotting the brand won’t change their one size business strategy, which is showing some improvement (pants in size 27 and 28s as opposed to 23). It’s fair to say Brandy Melville has a long way to come, and some unusual ideas, but remains a very popular brand.
Thanks for reading! Also, since the school year has started my posts may be on an irregular schedule, but keep an eye out for when I post.