Brandy Melville fueling dangerous American culture of eating disorders


Shriya Vanparia

Brandy Melville is an Italian clothing brand that markets their products to teenage girls and young women. The Sidekick staff writer Anjali Krishna shares her opinions on Brandy Melville’s one size only policy and its negative effects on young women.

Anjali Krishna, Staff Writer

The ideal Brandy girl is an easily grasped concept. She’s tall, carefree and ultrathin. She fits effortlessly into Brandy Melville’s iconic Tilden pants and plaid skirt sets. She’s happy, fun, amazing and everything you want to be and can. 

But only if you’re skinny.

Surprise! She’s not real. She’s rather the embodiment of society’s beauty standards pushed into one modelesque figure for girls to compare themselves to. Still, though, she’s the marketing strategy employed by the fastest growing teen clothing retailer in America, the company that repopularized petite clothing at a never-seen-before level and employs a very unique one size fits all sizing policy: Brandy Melville.

For anyone who has taken a look outside lately, it becomes obvious that one size fits all is an impossible claim to make. No one size can fit the multitude of body types. No, Brandy Melville means that only one size is catered to in their store and in the world, and that is an extremely slim one. 

A dangerous message is being passed on to teenage girls who want to shop at Brandy Melville, one that says they are intrinsically “other” because of their weight or size. The very skinny women Brandy Melville glorifies do, at some level, face unkindness for their frailty in the same way curvier women are fat-shamed, and of course, there is nothing wrong with having a small frame. Brandy Melville, though it does promote that smaller frame, leaves curvier women off of its website and marketing strategy entirely, making an obvious statement.

The company employs no marketing strategies but depends solely on advertisement through its Instagram, which features hundreds of thin and beach blonde girls tucked into classic but fresh outfits. Each of them is overjoyed to be alive and it’s easy to convince yourself that you could be too, if you looked like that. 

Brandy Melville is selling a lifestyle, a lifestyle that can be bought by looking like the girls who wear the brand. To create the illusion of inclusivity, Brandy Melville doesn’t work with professional models, but they partner with and scout for girls that match the ideal of the “Brandy girl” on Instagram. 

To get the life of the girl in Brandy Melville’s all-American teen dream aesthetic Instagram posts, buying the clothes of the girl in the picture is a good start, and to do that, you’ll have to fit into them. 

Brandy Melville has created desirability over accessibility and capitalized off of it, however ethically messy it may be. In America, the country with the most eating disorders in the world, though, the company’s profits may result in deadly consequences.

The one size fits all policy forces girls to look at themselves and find faults, reasons as to why they would be the exception to “all”, rather than seeing the absurdity in the sizing policy. To get to where they want to be, to who they want to be, impressionable teenagers prone to taking drastic action. If that someone they want to be can come from wearing Brandy Melville clothes, an eating disorder to take a few inches off the waist seems like a small price to pay.

Brandy Melville did not return messages requesting an interview for this story.

One-size-fits all does nothing to stop standardizing beauty, but feeds it further. Beauty doesn’t come in a box, or in one form. There is no prepackaged version you can buy and it cannot be found in clothes from a company that couldn’t care less. Recognize that we are all different and that is something to be celebrated. Embrace it.

Follow Anjali (@anjalikrishna_) and @CHSCampusNews on Twitter.