One Size Fits None

Brandy Melville’s contribution to toxic fashion culture.

Trigger warning: Sexual Harassment

Brandy Melville represents a host of various issues that are rampant throughout Gen Z culture. The brand is most well-known for its infamous “One Size Fits Most” system, where all of their clothing pieces are only available in one size–which ranges from an extra small to a rare medium. It’s sending a clear message that their clothes are intended for one specific body type that fashion culture has claimed to be “prettier” or more desirable. Additionally, the brand’s Instagram accounts feature exclusively skinny white women wearing their clothes, each representing precisely the narrow monotonous standard that the company is eager to promote. 

Beyond its worldwide reputation and controversy, the impacts of Brandy Melville’s brand image is felt just as strongly on the local level. Senior Ceci Miovic is a communications officer of Bulldogs Minds Matter, a club at Garfield that focuses on destigmatizing mental health as well as providing resources and information on this topic. The club deals with a range of mental health issues including body image and diet culture. “The way we see bodies in media influences the way that we feel like we should look or the way that clothes should fit, so having brands that display the same narrow body type and present that as healthy or ideal [adds to this problem]” Miovic said. “What looks healthy is different for every person”. Through their targeted branding of the exact same body type, Brandy Melville is directly denying this fact. 

Beyond body image, “a lot of [Brandy’s] staff is white, so [through this] they’re perpetuating racism and lack of diversity” Miovic said. Brandy Melville has endless problems that go on at a higher level in the company. Brandy’s CEO Stephan Marsan requires his employees to send pictures of what they’re wearing to the company’s senior employees which occasionally results in them being fired on the spot. Marsan has also been known to sexually harrass Brandy employees, including forcing women to undress in front of him or other company executives while modeling clothing for them. Beyond his personal allegations, there are countless stories of harassment and assault directed at young female employees. 

According to Miovic, the easiest way to fight Brandy Melville’s ideologies is by simply not buying from them. “We live in a capitalistic society … If they don’t make money, they’re either going to change or go out of business”. Choosing to shop at more ethical brands, enforces a shift in industry that moves towards favoring clothing companies that embody healthier messages. Fast fashion is known to be harmful in its environmental and social impact, but it’s hard to avoid. The affordable prices and accessibility make it easy to buy from bigger and less ethical brands. One good way to avoid this is by choosing to shop at more sustainable brands if you have the means to do so. Shopping second-hand from consignment or thrift stores is another great option, and can be a cheap and easy way to find clothes through a much more ethical and sustainable method.