Point v. Counterpoint: Brandy Melville

By Isabella Ponader and Grace Masback

WANT Original Content

Recently, clothing brand Brandy Melville has received bad press due to the fact that it sells clothing mainly in sizes small and extra small.* Although this sizing policy discriminates against many body types, for those who can wear Brandy Melville clothing and enjoy their style, why should they deny themselves the brand’s allure?

Pro:

Brandy Melville portrays itself as cool, hip, and relevant – presenting “their” girl as the girl every teenager aspires to be. Their clothing aesthetic is modern, trendy, and effortless, and their popularity is growing quickly. The clothes are comfortable and simple, and for those who can wear them, they’ve become a go-to option.

Additionally, in the world of more expensive teen clothing designers like American Apparel and Urban Outfitters, Brandy Melville is a breath of economical fresh air. Given the quality of the merchandise, it is surprisingly low-priced, with shirts as low as $11 and dresses and sweaters priced from $30 to $40.

We live in a country that promotes a free market. If Brandy Melville chooses to only sell sizes that cater to a certain body type, that is their prerogative, just as other brands cater to plus sizes, or feature a tomboy look, or try to attract sporty girls. Brandy Melville undoubtedly loses customers who may happen to be size M or L, but nobody has a right to tell them how to run their business.

The Brandy Melville clothes and brand are accessible, cool, and fun. Although Brandy Melville may not be for everyone, that isn’t a reason for them to be attacked or marginalized.

Con:

Brandy Melville is the latest trend in fashion retailing to take the teen population by storm. Across the country and world, teenage girls are falling prey to “Brandymania,” drooling over super-soft tank tops and ultra-short dresses. There’s no denying the appeal of Brandy Melville’s minimalistic design aesthetic and affordable fashion finds, – but you don’t have to look very hard to find Brandy Melville’s dirty little secret. If you walk into a Brandy Melville retail store or order clothing from their bustling e-commerce site you run into one small problem, or an extra-small problem. Everything Brandy sells is either one-size-fits-all (in a small) or size small or extra-small, with a couple of mediums sprinkled in on less popular styles. The jeans are all size 25 and the dresses are all a set length. If you are anything other than the “preferred” body type overtly endorsed by this sizing policy, Brandy Melville isn’t the store for you.

The archetypal Brandy Melville girl – tall, skinny, and blonde – is everywhere on their social media. These girls are portrayed as the epitome of fun and success, always laughing with friends and having a good time. These “perfect” girls, created and promoted Brandy Melville, prompt many teens to try to be something they aren’t or can’t be given their body types. Brandy Melville’s carefully crafted image and cultivated exclusivity is astounding and disgusting in a modern culture where so many teenage girls already struggle to find their place and meet unrealistic expectations about body types. With girls under constant pressure to conform to social and societal norms, Brandy Melville’s shameless endorsement of what drives the insecurities of so many teenage girls is revolting.

Jessy Longo, an executive at Brandy Melville, addressed their one size policy stating “that if customers can’t fit in the clothes, at least they can buy an accessory.”* The problem is that girls don’t want an accessory. The average American girl is not a size small. They are size medium or bigger. Bodies come in all shapes and sizes. One person’s healthy size might be a medium, another’s a large, another’s an extra small. Many girls go to shop at Brandy Melville with the intention of being “fashionable,” but end up shamed because their body doesn’t fit into the unrealistic box set by Brandy Melville and our image-obsessed society. Not being able to fit a brand portrayed as hip and cool makes girls feel negatively about themselves. Brandy Melville’s one size policy promotes negative social phenomena, like the overly skinny waist and neck and the fabled thigh gap. Teenage girls everywhere are trying to emulate the image of beauty displayed by Brandy Melville, and it’s time to put an end to this madness.

Imagine you are stick thin but super tall and want to order a Brandy Melville dress — you can’t because it will be too short. Or, imagine you run cross country and have muscular legs — all muscle, no fat — but when you go to try on the Brandy Melville jeans they don’t fit. Brandy Melville could potentially cater to many more teenage girls worldwide if they were to provide sizes that fit all. We should not be endorsing or supporting a brand that promotes insecurities in teenage girls and it is time to take a stand and demand change to this abhorrent business and retail policy.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/14/brandy-melville_n_5978626.html

About Grace Masback

Grace Masback, 17, aspires to give voice to the voiceless and holds the modest ambition of becoming the voice of Gen Z. Frustrated by the dearth of impactful platforms for teen journalists, she founded WANT, a news, sports, and entertainment website that aggregates the best in high school journalism from school newspapers and teen bloggers around the world (www.wantnewsforteens.com).

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