Brandy Melville: To Buy or Not To Buy?

brandy

Hey everyone! Recently my dad brought it upon himself to teach my sister and I the value of money, and how to responsibly deal with it.

He offered us this challenge: If my sister and I could save all our money (no spending at all!) from the beginning of May until the end of June, he would double it. I was like, oh yeah baby! Somebody’s ’bout to be rich! Immediately, I started calculating how much I could make. Okay so maybe 7 bucks a week for allowance for let’s say 9 weeks. That’s already $63! Oh and another maybe 15 bucks for miscellaneous chores. Man, that’s $78! I was getting excited. Not going to lie, it’s been harder than expected. It’s okay though, I’m almost there!

According to my calculations, *pushes glasses up with finger* after my money is doubled my total will be about $156. And because this is me we’re dealing with, I’ve already started planning what exactly I will do with my money. I’ve decided that $100 will go into a savings account, $25 to buy a battery charger for my camera, and the rest will be spent on some new clothes. And so the online shopping began. (something that I do frequently even when I’m broke. which is often.)

For some time now, I have been browsing a site that many teen girls obsess over. A store that sells Californian-girl type clothing. This includes an abundance of crop tops, high-waisted pants, and mini skirts. Basically Rachel Green, but picture it coming from a thrift shop. Yep. Brandy Melville.

My friend introduced me to their online store about 6 months ago. Since then I have been browsing their site on and off, but never buying anything. As cute and affordable as the clothes were, their store bugged me. Why? Well, lemme tell you…

First off, I’d like to say that this is not a hate post about Brandy Melville. I’ve been searching the web about what others thought of this store, and I’ve come across quite a few passionate posts. While I am quite passionate about this subject, I will try and avoid outright digs at Brandy Melville. This is simply a post containing my thoughts, opinions, and questions about this controversial store. So let’s jump in.

I love clothing. I love the experimentation, the expression, and the unrestrained art of it. You can imagine my sadness when I find a clothing store with so many items I would love to wear, but choose not to due to decisions the management is making. I have two major problems with Brandy Melville. The first being the exclusivity of their sizing, and secondly the fact that pretty much all of their models exhibit light skin.

Most people against Brandy Melville are opposed to it due to their “one-size” policy. They are notorious for the itty-bitty sizing of most of their clothing. Their clothes run from an XS to a S, while their pants can go from a 24-inch waist to a 26. Which when converted is 0-2.

At first, I didn’t think a store that sells one size was bad. Isn’t the responsibility of a company to make a product and attempt to sell it? Or is it to please as many people as possible? I mean, Lane Bryant kinda does the same thing, so why can’t Brandy Melville? It’s cost-effective, too! After playing around with this thought for a bit, I slowly changed my mind. It’s all about the approach and outcome.

Stores that only sell one size are not bad in themselves. It’s when it results in sending such a negative message. Oh you want to be a Brandy Girl? First, lose 20 lbs. Secondly, tan your skin but not too much. Wait, you’re not white? Oh well maybe you could just be our token person of color. But don’t get me wrong, the audience had a hand as well. Teenage girls tend to turn everything into a competition and/or a clique of some sort. So when presented with this exclusive stylish clothing, we distort it into an exclusive club. You’re cool if you have these clothes. Because that means you’re skinny enough. And if you can’t? Well, we can just say that there are other stores for you to shop at.

Speaking of “other stores”, I’d like to touch lightly on the “Lane Bryant” subject. Some would argue that this exact concept is being used by them as well. Which is correct. But perhaps there is a need for stores like Lane Bryant because of stores like Brandy Melville. Plus-sized people are being ignored and purposely excluded. In result, Lane Bryant is one of few stores where plus-sized people are represented.

I’ve read about some negative experiences people have had in Brandy Melville stores. One that stands out to me was where an employee wouldn’t even let a girl try on an item of clothing in fear that she might stretch it out. That’s awful. I wonder if they realize how detrimental that is to a person? Let alone what it could do to a still maturing teenage girl!

While scrolling through pictures of their models wearing their oh-so-cute clothing, you notice a few things about the models. Predominantly white, tall, skinny, long-legged, long-haired, sun-kissed teens. And they’re all skinny. And I don’t mean just skinny. I mean skinny. Of course them and all their supporters could rebuke me by saying: “What? No, of course not! We have diverse models, just look at this one, this one, and this one!” Which is true. Those 3 models you’ve pointed out are in fact not white. But that’s all of them. And that’s the extent of their so-called diversity.

As a little experiment, I went to their site and clicked on their clothing tab. It took me about 10 minutes and on the 334th model (yes I literally counted how many entries I had to go through), I finally found a person of color. That’s not okay. The first 333 clothing pieces were all modeled by white girls with varying degrees of tans. Seriously? We have so many different colors of people in this world, and you decide to only represent one type. A type that is already being represented in more than enough areas.

It doesn’t feel right for me to buy clothing from a company that obviously doesn’t want someone like me to be wearing it. Sure, I may get a pass due to the fact that I’m giving them my money. But I don’t want to have a “pass” to be able to wear clothing that I like. I want to be thought of, and valued through representation. This isn’t like my previous example. No, this is an outright presentation of their prejudices. I don’t mean to belittle their blatant fat-shaming, but I feel as if this is in a separate category.

We have given Brandy Melville all this power to set the standard of what we girls should look like. I believe that with power, comes opportunity and responsibility. And it hurts my heart seeing what they have done with that power. They have set this impossible standard that so many girls are fighting to achieve. To prove themselves. To feel better about themselves. Please don’t give them this power.

Thanks for reading my post! Have an opinion related to this post? Or maybe just wish to add a little something? Please don’t hesitate and leave a comment!

 

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