One size will never fit all

Luna Infante, Staff Writer

The fashion industry has always struggled to be inclusive with sizes, but in recent years, people have stepped up and advocated for change. Body positivity is about supporting acceptance and respect towards all body shapes; it is about pushing for societal change and helping everyone feel confident about their appearance. Unfortunately, to this day, some brands have not grown with this movement, as they continue not to be size-inclusive and continue to keep quiet about it. A prime example is Brandy Melville.

Brandy Melville is an Italian fashion brand marketed towards teenage girls and young women. The brand was established in 1970 by Silvio Marsan and his son Stephan Marsan. Brandy Melville was launched in the U.S. in 2009, gaining significant popularity in 2014 after competing with well-known brands and ranking number one in up-trending brands, according to LDNFashion. The brand became popular through social media, being known for its “cool” and “relevant” fashion. While the brand has –– what seems to be –– good quality basics and trendy items, it has always been problematic because it carries one size. 

Although Brandy Melville has received heavy criticism from the public for its lack of size-inclusivity, it has also gained popularity for the same reason. For many who are able to shop at Brandy Melville, it gives a sense of coolness and exclusivity, the same feelings Abercrombie & Fitch gave to teens in the early 2000s. Brandy Melville continues to be shamed by many, but it also continues to be a very successful fashion brand with hundreds of stores worldwide. Why is that? 

Brandy Melville is a brand that most prominently features thin, blonde, White girls in their advertising, and also includes very limited sizes, yet it continues to sell. Because their market is aware of who they are, their market is okay with being part of a small population and having a store exclusive to their size and style. However, another reason brands like this continue to be successful is that they include petite sizes of good-quality clothes, which can be difficult to find at the reasonable prices Brandy Melville offers. People tend to forget body positivity and inclusivity are for all bodies, and yes, this includes thin women. Size inclusivity is not only a problem for people of larger sizes but also people of smaller sizes. For many young women with smaller frames, it is difficult to find clothes that fit right, even under the label of “small” or “extra small.” They tend to fit loose, not hug the chest area correctly, or have ill-fitting straps that slip off the shoulders. Brandy Melville is very suitable for many women with smaller frames, so it is a great disappointment that the brand has marketed itself in a way that it has become shameful to shop there.

Brandy Melville would be more acceptable if it promoted itself as a brand for petite women because it does well at catering to this specific body type. However, what makes the company problematic is that it sells itself as a brand for teenage girls, but it does not accurately represent all teenage girls since not all can fit into this brand’s sizes. Their size labels are inaccurate and not at all-inclusive, with jeans and pants labeled size “S/M” when in reality, they would only fit someone with a size zero or two. Or sweatshirts labeled as “Regular Fit” or “Oversized Fit,” when they would all be categorized as extra small or small. Many see Brandy Melville as problematic for not being size-inclusive, but the problem does not lie in the small size it carries, but rather in the way it promotes itself.

Brandy Melville needs to change their size labels and be honest with who their market is. If the fashion brand wants to market towards teenage girls, it needs to sell clothes that will fit all teenage girls, and if Brandy Melville is meant to be for petite women, it needs to market in a way that makes that known. Until Brandy Melville takes steps toward change, shopping there will continue to be seen as controversial, problematic and shameful. In this day and age, a brand like this will be called out. “One-size-fits-all” is nonsense, and people should not remain silent about that.