Brandy Melville: A review

A lackluster company with undeniable underlying issues


Brent Gelick / Talon

Brandy Melville is here to stay, regardless of the fact that it needs to go. ‘Brandy’ as their consumers call it, is a European clothing company with 97 locations open internationally, many of which are here in the US. They have an official website online and make about 34 million dollars a year.

In terms of clothing quality, Brandy offers nothing out of the ordinary and certainly nothing extraordinary. Brandy Melville’s patterns cover the basics: animal prints, floral prints and even, as of two years ago, checkered patterns. Though these are ‘trendy’ and in style as of now, it’s undeniable the corporation is unoriginal. Brandy Melville takes advantage of the current trends, and simply recreates it. Don’t get it twisted: Brandy doesn’t create trends, they copy them. 

In regard to the price … well, to put it plainly, it’s high. A plain gray, short sleeve shirt (ones that would otherwise cost less than $3)is about $18. A long sleeve tee is about $22. A sweater? Forget about it, you’re looking at about $35-$45. Not to say these prices are completely unreasonable (sure … it’s in fashion and trendy), but they certainly aren’t completely affordable either. 

Brandy can keep up and make trendy clothes available to their customers. Fast fashion makes this possible. While Brandy Melville is not alone in the race for fast fashion, they do little to compensate for the resources being used to produce such clothing, like H&M’s recycling program. But for Brandy, there is no such program to be found. If you are looking for a more sustainable choice, vintage Brandy (more interesting and lively) can be found at various second hand stores. 

Perhaps more famous than their clothes are the controversies Brandy Melville finds themselves in. A notorious aspect and experience of shopping at Brandy is the lack of sizes they offer. That might even be too generous to say, as they have a “one size fits all” policy — that size being “too small.” This not only excludes certain groups from being able to participate in trendy fashion, but it conditions a generation of young women to believe they must fit into one size, and one size only: small. According to Wikipedia,Their clothes are tailored to a 25 inch waist and a 32 inch bust, measurements that are not widely representative of the vast majority of female consumers.” The exclusions in size beg the question; who thought this was a good idea? The company was founded by Silvio Marson and his son Stephan. Not to say that men cannot make great clothing for women — which is easily debunked by  high fashion brands like Valentino and Christian Dior — but when the sizes are restricted, there is something eerie about the choices these two powerful men try to inflict on young and impressionable girls. These exclusionary tactics add on to an appeal: if you can fit into these clothes, you are part of a pretty, trendy, skinny, club. 

In terms of advertisement, Brandy’s representation and marketing tactics fail to shock anyone based on the information gathered. While browsing the website, it’s clear that the majority of models fit the Brandy Melville criteria: skinny, Caucasian women (just do a quick Google search!). Not to mention that Brandy offers no mens’ clothing, or advertises men in their clothing, further pushing gendered stereotypes typically found in fashion. The workplace is far from glamorous, regardless of the facade the company promotes. Hundreds of former Brandy Melville employees have complained about discriminatory practices done at the location. The employees at Brandy Melville stores and the online models all fall under the same category. Female, skinny, pretty, and white. Even the pay rate can be determined by the looks of an employee rather than their quality of work. All this information has been cited in the bombshell article linked here.

If you’re wealthy, a size 0, and looking to fit in, Brandy Melville is right up your alley. Though its colors are fashionable and timeless, their methods of approaching trendy items are tasteless and unsustainable. Besides all the problematic behavior Brandy has displayed both in the workplace and in their marketing, the clothing themselves are pushing societal standards on young women who deserve better. The current climate of the fashion industry has been to wear what everyone else is wearing — it always has been and might remain so if the new generation doesn’t change it. Instead of dressing like carbon copies and wearing clothing that strips your individuality, wear what you want. Go thrifting, inspire your fashion from vintage pieces, be authentic. Fashion is about self expression … one size, style, or brand does not fit all.