Brandy Melville's Diversity Issue

One of the most prominent clothing brands that has shaped an aesthetic of our generation, Brandy Melville, has been riding the wave of mainstream success since the spread of “Tumblr girl” culture and the conception of Instagram. The brand has further popularized the “girl next door” look with graphic tees, denims, babydoll dresses, and basic clothing pieces that any girl would love to add to her closet. Despite all of Brandy’s praise from social media influencers and their selection of undeniably cute clothes, the brand persists to not meet fundamental standards of inclusivity, especially with the strides that have been made in today’s fashion merchandising.

If you have ever walked into a Brandy store, found their garments in a local Pacsun, scrolled through their website, or perused through any of the company’s Instagrams, you’ll probably notice a couple things. For one, a majority of their clothes only come in “one size fits all.” This seems very counterintuitive, since theoretically the more sizes a brand has, the larger range of customers they will attract, and thus a larger profit is generated. Despite widespread backlash of the “one size fits all” option across multiple other clothing brands, Brandy has maintained this level of exclusivity in their company. The option in itself is ironic, considering one size of clothing will indeed not fit everyone. So who is this “all” that Brandy is referring to? Well, that brings us to the second thing you might notice when observing Brandy’s media.

The models displayed on the Brandy Melville website and social media are almost always white, blonde, and very slender. A simple pass with your thumb across their collection of posts will project a singular image of the same type of girl. But why would Brandy only want to cater to a small fraction of the young, feminine demographic?

It seems evident that the brand wants to maintain an aspect of exclusivity with their image. Though this strategy might not seem the most logical, Brandy Melville wheels in numerous customers every year and is featured in countless beauty guru hauls. And this level of exclusivity is not just maintained in their marketing, but the employees all embody the image of a Brandy Melville girl. Similar to the models that make the clothes fly off the racks, the employees are typically modelesque, skinny, and white. This exclusivity in their brand conveys a sense of status if you can fit into their clothes, and simultaneously, Brandy profits off of producing this superficial, rewarding feeling experienced by their customers.

One thought-provoking video that has gleaned a lot of attention and hits a lot of these points home is by a Youtuber named Letao, who uploads under the channel “croissant.” The video, “I Lost Weight to Fit Into Brandy Melville” speaks volumes about Brandy Melville’s projected image and the damage it can create in teenage girl’s brains! I happen to agree that there isn’t an inherent problem with having a company that caters to petite sized girls, just like there are companies that cater to plus sizes. But the concept that Brandy markets, that one singular size is the epiphany of youthful, effortless beauty, is inherently wrong. This, along with the sole presence of caucasion models, or models with caucausion features, further reinforces Brandy’s unethical marketing.

Many fashion brands have learned to fit their marketing to contemporary society, so why doesn’t Brandy pass on the torch? In the future, hopefully the Brandy team will make some structural change to diversify their models, and change the image that they project to their teenage audience.