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One size most definitely does not fit ‘all’

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The exclusivity of Brandy Melville

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I remember the moment vividly, standing in a Nordstrom’s fitting room, looking at myself in the mirror wearing a black and white checkered dress with a tag that claimed to be “one size fits all,” but in reality, the dress was so small I couldn’t even zip it up.  

One size fits all clothing has been around for at least five decades and usually caters to a small, model-size few. While there have been many clothing companies that use a “one size fits all” business model, few have reached the same level of infamy as Brandy Melville.  

Brandy Melville was founded in 1970 by two Italian designers, Silvio Marsan and his son Stefan Marsan. The company is notoriously secretive; they don’t run traditional advertisements, and they definitely don’t seek out any press coverage.

But who needs to run advertisements when you have an Instagram following of 3.8 million? Brandy has ingrained itself within many teenage girls’ closets.

The brand has had an average sales growth rate of 25 percent since 2014, according to financialtimes.com, which shows that their Instagram advertising is extremely effective.

Scrolling through their Instagram feed, you begin to recognize a theme: skinny white girls with long hair and even longer legs, all sunbleached, and all with perfectly toned stomachs.

Kat Powers,  Div. 965, says that she loves Brandy because their clothes are cute and comfortable.

“I wear Brandy because the clothes always fit me and they also have clothes and jewelry that I love,” Powers said.

I understand loving the brand if you fit into their clothing. Shopping is convenient and you don’t even have to try clothes on. However, Brandy Melville’s average model is 5’9”, and has a waist measurement of 24 inches, and for most teenage girls, this isn’t realistic.

In America, the average woman is a size 16 and has a waist measurement of 38.2 in, according to a study conducted by the International Journal of Fashion Design, Technology and Education.

Brandy claims their “one size fits all” pants can stretch to a size 2, and in some styles where they do have recognizable sizes such as S, M, L, the large is a 28-inch waist and a 26-inch inseam.

Therefore, since the average American women has a 38.2” waist, she would most definitely not fit into Brandy Melville’s “large.”

How can a clothing brand that only really fits a small percentage of the population be so successful? The answer is in the branding.

Brandy Melville has created and developed a brand that is synonymous with beautiful girls, and a sunny, beachy, carefree lifestyle. In essence: an effortless cool girl, a Brandy Girl.

They prey on teenage girls’ insecurities and their desire to fit in, and they manipulate this into a profit. Brandy promotes an exclusive, 90 lb. “aesthetic” for teenage girls to worship, and it works.

Another reason why their brand is so successful is that they use exclusivity as a marketing technique. If a girl can fit into a teeny tiny checkered dress, then she’ll feel good about herself because her body image is being validated.

But by the same token, if a girl can’t fit into the same dress, her self worth decreases because there are no other sizing options, which leads her to the conclusion that her body isn’t good enough. I know this from personal experience.

Brandy Melville is the reassertion of the “ideal” body type, and quite frankly, that disgusts me. Teenage girls already feel intense pressure to look a certain way, whether that be from magazines, social media or the clothing they’re supposed to buy.

The brand has made the conscious decision to make clothing only for the few who fit their ideal sizing, thus excluding the vast majority who can’t fit into jeans with a 25” waist.

My problem with the brand: If they make clothing that only caters to a certain size, say that. Don’t hide behind the “one size fits all” sham, because how can one size possibly fit all when the “all” is so varied?

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About the Contributors
Maggie Nielsen, Editor-in-chief

Maggie Nielsen and has been writing for the Warrior since the fall of 2017. She is the president of Podcast Club, a member of LT Womyn, runs cross country, and plays for the lacrosse team. She enjoys reading, doodling, and eating lots ice cream. She also loves the outdoors and spends as much time as she can hiking, backpacking, and skiing. She has a passion for architecture and art, and spends a lot of her free time at the Art Institute or wandering around Chicago, looking at Louis Sullivan buildings.

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Mytam Vo, Art Editor

Mytam Vo is a current senior and is The Warrior’s art editor. Apart from being the art editor, she enjoys making her own art and is learning how to play the ukelele. She can speak Vietnamese and English fluently. Mytam’s favorite subject is English, and her favorite movie is Drugstore Cowboy. She wants to travel to either Hawaii or Korea.

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One size most definitely does not fit ‘all’