‘One size does not fit all’: Students reflect on ‘exclusive nature’ of Brandy Melville’s sizing

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Photo credit: Cydney Johnson

Brandy Melville’s one-size-fits-all policy provoked controversy as the brand has attained greater prominence. The Santa Monica location is pictured above.

Forty-nine years ago, Italian father-son duo Sivilo and Stephan Marsan founded Brandy Melville. The retail store has now expanded to have 95 locations globally with an estimated annual profit of $125 million. With almost four million followers on Instagram, the brand has expanded its presence globally through social media. Brandy Melville’s target audience is a specific group of teens that fit their one-size-fits-all clothing, but the one-size is equivalent to a size zero

“Obviously, one size does not fit all. I think I am considered an average-sized person, but some of their clothes are still tight on me. A lot of kids in middle school wear Brandy, and I think it is kind of a validation thing,” senior Amelia Nathanson said. “Being seen wearing Brandy Melville clothes is a way of showing that you are skinny.”

Employees at Brandy Melville do not only act as retail employees but also take photos of customers who have a style similar to the brand called store style pictures. Some of the employees also act as models on Brandy Melville’s social media accounts.

“I went to Brandy [Melville] with a friend that was skinnier than me — about a size zero — who was wearing a plain outfit,” Nathanson said. “They took a store style photo of her outfit, but I think their main reason for photographing her was her body.”

In addition to the exclusivity of the store’s sizes, Brandy Melville’s social media accounts feature many “tall” and “thin” models.

“They hire workers that are generally skinny and on the taller side, but mostly just skinny,” Davis Jarrahy said. “They’re not very diverse in size or race.”

Junior Ella Roark works at the Brandy Melville location in Westwood. While store-style pictures are not popular at the location Roark works at, she said that something similar to store-style pictures are taken of employees.

“They take outfit photos of everyone during their shifts,” Roark said. “They send them to management to show them what [the workers] are wearing.”

While Roark’s personal experience as a worker for Brandy Melville has been positive, she said the brand is exclusive.

“Overall, [working for Brandy Melville] has been positive. It’s actually really fun. I totally understand why there are negative associations with Brandy Melville, and they are more than fair since [the clothes] are one size. For such a popular and big company, it isn’t inclusive,” Roark said. “It’s so frustrating to not fit into their clothes because they are sized for such a specific body type.”

Senior Alizeh Davis Jarrahy fits into the Brandy Melville sizing but said the brand is problematic.

“I am not directly affected by it because I can shop there, but I know it is not fair because it is not inclusive,” senior Alizeh Davis Jarrahy said. “The exclusive nature of Brandy Melville makes it so that only a certain type of person can shop there.”

Brandy Melville did not respond to repeated requests for comment.