When asking a teenage girl her favorite clothing brand, receiving ‘Brandy Melville’ as an answer is becoming an exceedingly common response in the Gen-Z era. The minimalistic clothing brand consisting of cropped, simple designs is the all-new crave of girls ages 11 to 20. Brandy Melville exploded in popularity during the mid-2000s with the increasing demand for clothes emblemizing the ‘Malibu beach babe’ aesthetic.
Targeting teenage girls seeking this look, Brandy Melville quickly grew in sales, peaking at nearly $67 million in 2019. Yet, hiding behind innocent miniskirts and babydoll tees is a notorious one-size-fits-all policy, a policy of which may fail to realize as the popularity of the iconic Brandy Melville continues to grow.
The one-size-fits-all title can be both deceiving and straightforward. Like the name itself, the policy may appear to have the intention of promoting inclusivity, with clothing adaptable to any body type or size. Upon trying on the clothing itself, however, many will be disappointed to discover that the clothing was indeed not created to “fit all”, as the policy suggests. Instead, the tiny sleeves and minuscule width of a single T-shirt scream not for you.
Then for whom is it for, you may ask?
Brandy Melville’s slim-fit designs are catered to people who the company believes “has the right body type” to wear their clothing. Those who fit in this narrow category must be very thin and of a certain weight, as demonstrated by the models on Brandy Melville’s own website and social media pages. This lack of physical diversity not only displays Brandy Melville’s clear discrimination of body types they consider “unfit” for their clothing line but also has a direct impact on the company’s target audience: teenage girls.
Due to social pressures and other external factors, teen girls will often go to far lengths to become one with the flock, especially when it comes to appearance. With the rising trend of Brandy Melville clothing, girls are desperate to achieve the “ideal Brandy Melville body” to be able to fit in.
To do so, many will resort to extreme dieting, overly intense exercise, and even skipping meals, opening a gateway for eating disorders and mental health issues. According to Johns Hopkins Children’s Hospital, “95 percent of people with eating disorders are between the ages 12 and 25…environmental factors and personality traits all contribute to the risk of developing an eating disorder.” This indicates that the motivation to alter their appearance is frequently derived from social factors.
Brandy Melville’s strict size standards embrace the idea that one must be of a certain body type to be “worthy” enough to wear Brandy clothing. Using their popularity as a weapon, Brandy Melville tacitly forces teenagers to slim down in order to wear Brandy clothing and follow the trend.
The one-size-fits-all policy of Brandy Melville is degrading to the mental and physical health of today’s adolescents. From promoting an “ideal” appearance to unspoken body shaming with toxic effects, it is apparent that “one-size-fits-all” is not at all the inclusive, universal precedent that Brandy Melville once tried to set.
Still want that T-shirt?