One Size Doesn't Fit All: Why Brandy Melville's Sizing Policy Is Sexist and Exclusionary
Brandy Melville has nothing short of a monopoly on teenage girls. The Italian clothing company, known for its trendy and affordable basics, has become increasingly popular in recent years, especially among adolescents and young adults. But Brandy Melville’s success hasn’t come without controversy: the company has faced significant backlash surrounding its exclusionary sizing policy.
In an age of body positivity, Brandy Melville seems like a relic of the past. While clothing brands like Aerie have launched campaigns designed to promote self-love, Brandy Melville has maintained its exclusionary “One Size Fits Most” sizing policy, prompting criticism from consumers.
The policy was initially established in order to decrease manufacturing costs, thereby keeping prices low and accessible to all. However, it has actually had the opposite effect, making Brandy Melville clothing only accessible to girls who fit a certain mold.
Despite their tag, Brandy Melville’s clothing items do not in fact “fit most.” The company’s collection is designed to fit sizes 0-4, which is exceptionally petite given that 68% of American women wear size 14 or above. The petite nature of Brandy Melville’s clothing items is revealed by a simple scroll through the brand’s official Instagram page, which features models that are particularly thin. Moreover, several people have reported that the store hires employees based on slim looks rather than prior work experience.
Brandy Melville’s target demographic, which mostly consists of teenage girls, is especially impressionable and prone to bodily insecurities. In fact, 92% of teenage girls would like to change something about their appearance, with body weight ranking the highest.
It seems that Brandy Melville is promoting a toxic message to an impressionable audience––that self-worth is based on slim fit. Moreover, by promoting a culture that fetishizes skinniness, the company seems to be perpetuating a sexist, exclusionary, and out-dated view of the female body while contributing to the rise of eating disorders among teenage girls.
Amid consumer complaints, a petition demanding that Brandy Melville offer more sizes and stop labeling their clothes as fitting “most” has garnered over 18,000 signatures. However, the company has yet to take any steps to make its sizing policy more inclusive.
In 2013, the CEO of Brandy Melville, Jessy Longo, released a statement in defense of the one-size clothing policy. "We can satisfy almost everybody, but not everybody," he said. "The one-size-fits-most clothing might turn off somebody if they don't walk into the store, but if you walk in you'll find something even if it's a bag."