Diversity in Fashion Brand Clothing – by Madison Schutter, Kylina Caylor, Kate Hixon, Mya Mckinney

Clothing is a major way people express themselves, making it important that clothing brands make clothing that is welcoming for everyone. Brands such as Brandy Melville offer only one size clothing, but the clothing is only for some. Their sizes say they are for everyone, but realistically they fit an extra-small to a medium. One-size clothing is not a true statement because everyone has a different body type, meaning a one-size shirt will not fit everyone the same. Brandy Melville markets towards short and small people. The shirts and shorts are extremely short, small, and cropped making it impossible for curvy or tall people to fit into. However, they sell sweatshirts that are one size but are labeled as “oversized”. This is highly offensive to people because their oversized fit is just a normal fit. What kind of message is Brandy Melville trying to portray? That the “normal” size of women should be an extra small to a medium? These are questions that need to be answered and not suppressed just because “smaller” people like their clothing.

For years the ideal ‘standard of beauty’ was showcased through the smallest sizes. The idea of a ‘trendy body’ has played into companies like Brandy Melville’s product offerings. The company claims to have a one size fits all brand that doesn’t actually fit all. With 33.29% of the company’s customers being between the ages of 18-24, and 78.24% of all customers being female, it is quite shocking that the brand wouldn’t opt for a more size and height-inclusive line. According to EcommerceDB, Brandy Melville was ranked number 246 in the Fashion market within the United States. They also ranked less than $75 million USD in 2021. The site says that the highest-ranking stores include Macy’s, Shein, and Amazon which do tend to be much more inclusive brands both in size, height and overall representation. With many brands leaning more towards a natural and diverse representation of their products, this seems to again ask the question, why do brands like Brandy Melville continue to hold onto these unrealistic and harmful standards of beauty?

Not only does Brandy Melville make clothing exclusively for skinny white girls, they also only hire skinny white girls. According to an article posted by Insider, employees as young as 14 were required to send a full-body selfie to executives on a daily basis. If the higher-ups didn’t like what they saw, the girl would be fired on the spot. The CEO of Brandy Melville, Stephan Marsan, held his employees to extremely unrealistic standards. If he thought there were too many black employees working in one of his storefronts, he would quickly fire them and replace them with white women. Anyone he deemed “too heavy” or unattractive would also be fired immediately.  Stephan Marson had a very whitewashed, fatphobic idea of beauty, and he projected this standard onto all the young, impressionable women that worked for him. Telling young women that they are “too black” or “too fat” to work for your company does irreparable damage to their self-esteem. Stephan Marson has been judging women on the color of their skin and the shape of their bodies for years now. His skewed perception of beauty is that all girls should look like blonde Audrey Hepburn. You don’t have to be white, skinny, and blonde to be beautiful. Brands like Brandy Melville are ruining the world of fashion while simultaneously ruining young women’s self-image.

It is not surprising that a multimillion-dollar company like Brandy Melville is owned by a man who doesn’t care about his clients unless they fit his “type”. As previously mentioned, clothing serves as a means of personal expression. This makes it even more disappointing that Brandy Melville bases its clothing on the size they think women should be rather than embracing the variety of sizes they come in. Particularly in a time when social media has created an unspoken rule that you must be thin to be admired. TikTok and Instagram are the main beneficiaries of self-insecurity and jealousy. After tuning into their social media, it’s not hard to see visually who they’re targeting. With 3.2 million followers and a blue “verified” stamp, Brandy Melville’s Instagram page (@brandymelvilleusa) has posted 78 photos this year. Out of those photos, only seven black/light-skinned brown girls are featured. The rest are white girls with tiny waists and silky blonde hair. The same goes for their TikTok. With almost 80 thousand followers and over 90 videos, only ten of them include a woman of color. Even in those, they are often paired next to the demographic that Brandy Melville actually wants to buy their clothes. Unfortunately, it is up to those who fall within their skewed demographic to do what’s right and stop doing business with them. Silvio Marsan probably won’t be so arrogant and shallow when his sales start to decline. 

Madison Schutter, Kylina Caylor, Kate Hixon, Mya Mckinney
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