Why You Should Boycott Brandy Melville

Brandy Melville: a company that most people ages 10-18 have heard of. If you don’t know what it is, then you’re lucky, because I think it’s grotesque. Brandy Melville was first established in Italy nearly 20 years ago by Silvio Marsan and his son, Stephan Marsan. The store opened its first U.S. branch in 2009 right next to UCLA’s campus in Westwood, Los Angeles. The problem I have with this company is that it preaches a one-size-fits-all policy, and the only size in the store is small. Let me repeat: size small. How absurd?! In a world with 7.7 billion people of all shapes and sizes, how can you create a clothing brand with a one-size-fits-all model? So here’s my call to action: 

Boycott Brandy Melville until the company discontinues their one-size-fits-all policy and replaces it with multiple different sizes, so that people can shop for clothes that actually fit them freely and without feeling body-shamed. 

People might be upset to boycott Brandy Melville, but at the end of the day, it’s important to realize that it’s an ill-intentioned company; it’s an example of what’s wrong with the world right now. Due to their one-size-fits-all model, the company is essentially telling people of all different shapes and sizes that they should fit into clothing made for one “ideal” body type. Luckily, we live in a modern, far more body-positive world now; the focus is shifting from solely showcasing skinny models to instead publicizing models of all sizes, including plus-sized models such as Ashley Graham. Brandy Melville is a disgrace to all of the progress we’ve made in terms of body positivity. 

If having a one-size-fits-all policy wasn’t bad enough, the company also has a history of employees fat-shaming customers. We know about these specific instances because people are increasingly publicizing their life by filming their every move. In 2012, Trisha Paytas, a 31-year-old American YouTuber, was fat-shamed in a Brandy Melville store. She filmed the incident and subsequently broadcast it on YouTube; unfortunately, she was forced to take her video down after receiving a letter from Brandy Melville’s lawyer. In response, she described the embarrassment of walking into the store and getting fat-shamed. She remarks, “I didn’t get 10 seconds into the store when I was told ‘I would not fit anything,’ and that I wasn’t allowed to try anything on because ‘I would stretch the clothes out.’” This is not an uncommon feeling for people when they walk into Brandy Melville. Speaking from personal experience, I feel super uncomfortable when walking into the store with my friends. I am constantly reminded that my waist is not a size small and that my breasts prevent me from being able to wear the size small t-shirts. 

Brandy Melville sells all types of clothes — pants, shorts, skirts, dresses, and tops — all of which are supposed to be only one size. That one size requires people to have a 25-inch waist, which usually translates to a U.S. size 0 or 2. This is an incredibly unrealistic image of an average person’s size in this day and age, which brings me to my last argument for boycotting Brandy Melville: they don’t feel a need to change their one-size-fits-all brand model. In 2014, Jessy Longo, an executive at Brandy Melville, told USA Today that if people can’t fit into the clothing, they can still buy accessories. Longo is completely missing the point. There are a lot of girls who would probably love to wear Brandy Melville clothing, but can’t because there are no sizes to accommodate most of them. 

Young girls generally start wearing Brandy Melville’s clothing when they hit puberty. However, a company that has the capacity to be influential during such a pivotal time in adolescent lives does not promote body positivity. As young women become cognizant of fashion, the “one-size-fits-all” policy (for size small) can be devastating to one’s self-esteem. 

To play devil’s advocate, I know that because Brandy Melville doesn’t have to accommodate for multiple sizes and can thus mass produce, its clothing is ultimately cheaper. This is the brand’s main selling point for many consumers. But in the end, what’s more important: clothing that fits most people and is more expensive, or clothing that is ill-fitting and inspires shame for many?