The huge problem with Brandy Melville's "One size fits all" policy
Don’t go into Brandy Melville looking for your size, you’re probably not going to find it. That’s because the retailer probably doesn’t stock your size, they, for the most part, don’t stock any size, rather their garments feature the tag “One size fits all,” while signs in the store explain that “One size fits most.”
Of course, anyone who has, you know, taken a stroll outside lately, and taken note of all the people who live in the world around us, is all too aware that “One size fits all” is an impossible claim for a store to make, because we humans of Earth are NOT all one size, we are dozens of different sizes.
No, what Brandy Melville means when they say “One size fits all” is “One size is welcome in our store.” The store does not carry multiple sizes because they have made a choice as a company that they will only cater to the slimmest of bodies. Clicking through the website, you see 5’7 models with size 24 inch waists, 5’9 models with 25 inch waists, 5’8 models with 23 inch waists, a very specific body type that represents such a small part of the population.
When the store DOES stock recognizable sizes (S, M, L) the proportions are super-shrunk versions of what most of us are accustomed to seeing in sizing. For example, a pair of high-rise denim shorts comes in a size S (for a 14” waist), a size M (14.5” waist) and a size L (a 15” waist). The largest size the store stocks is a size 2, and not all the garments even come in this size (if you want a pair of the boyfriend jeans, a style of pants known for their loose fit, unless your waist is 15” or under, you’re SOL).
Recently, high schooler Abby Richmond took to the website womens enews to vent her frustrations about the “exclusive body ideals” promoted by Brandy Melville. Though Abby owns several pieces from the company, as she explains, “the body exclusivity gnaws at my conscience.”
Abby’s absolutely right. This is a company whose branding strategy has been to traffic in the insecurity of teen girls, at a time in a young woman’s life when she/her peers arguably have never been/will never be MORE insecure. It’s clearly a strategy that has worked for the company, they have become the coin of the teen fashion realm. The problem is the ethically icky way the brand has achieved its prestige, from creating desirability out of exclusivity.
Brandy Melville seems to be poised to create a “One size fits most/all” trend in the retail. This summer, America Eagle joined in with their “Don’t Ask Why” one-size-fits-all line. We sincerely hope that this doesn’t become a full-blown trend, this would be such a setback during a time in which there have never been more body positivity activists. There is such a positive push right now for the industry to be size inclusive. We hope this “One size fits all” stuff is just a blip, and that the real trend that emerges in the fashion industry is one that embraces all bodies.
(Images via Brandy Melville)