One size fits most is the motto Brandy Melville clothing has adopted, their one size being a small. The retail store originating from Europe has made its way overseas, and has multiple locations in the United States. Their unique and controversial branding has caused a major stir among the public.
Founded by Silvio Marsan and his son, the company gained popularity quickly in the states. With prices comparable to brands like American Eagle or Forever 21, Brandy Melville stands as a strong competitor to teen based companies. However, unlike other companies who cater to smaller sized women, Brandy Melville carries no large sizes, and very few mediums. With sizes that fit no one above a size two, the brand advertises an image that goes above and beyond other brands that promote thin lifestyles. Unlike Abercrombie & Fitch, who despite being criticized for advertising thin customers still carries sizes up to a 14, Brandy Melville does not give the option for many to buy their clothes.
They advertise a very specific demographic, with Instagram pictures consisting completely of leggy white girls without any sign of fat on their bodies. They emphasize the thigh gap and mid drifts revealing washboard abs, yet insist that there is something for everyone in the store. If they clothes don’t fit, there are always accessories that customers can purchase.
What are the ethical dilemmas regarding this choice of brand advertising? Is blatant exclusivity acceptable in the fashion industry?
First off, the creators of the brand are men. How hypocritical is that? Whether or not it was intended, creating clothing that only fits a size small and advertising them with a very narrow demographic suggests that the owners only accept certain body images. This is detrimental to the public who on average, are a much bigger size than a zero or two. They feel pressured to conform to the company’s norm, or they shun the product completely. The exclusivity in the ads suggest that people who don’t fit into those sizes are outcasts, and this says a lot about the brand’s mission. Do we want to endorse a product that believes in the exclusion of others? Maybe, I guess it’s up to you.