By: Georgie M. (’18)
One scroll through Brandy Melville’s perfectly curated Instagram feed will take you into the “ideal life” of most teenage girls. The tanned, skinny, and blonde girls on the site and even in store definitely do the job of selling and giving the clothes a desirable aesthetic to their many young customers. But it wasn’t until I stopped buying from Brandy Melville that I realized what was actually behind their hugely successful business model. A few years later, I went into the store with a friend of mine. Middle school memories came flooding back. Brandy was truly a uniform for everyone from 6th to 8th grade at my school. It would make sense that the cheap pricing made it so desirable, but the truth is I think most of would have kept buying it even if the price doubled. Something about the hipster “I’m cool but I’m not trying to be cool” look had me going back for more of their tiny daisy printed tops. What I didn’t realize at that point was that although I wasn’t the picture of a “Brandy girl”, I did actually fit into the clothes which was more than a lot of people could say. When I think back, I realize that the only girls at my middle school who didn’t wear Brandy were the ones who couldn’t fit into their clothes. Even girls who couldn’t fit into most of their clothes would find pieces to squeeze into. Brandy’s business model hinges on their ‘one size fits most’ sizing which at most really meant “one size fits pre-pubescent girls”. Immediately, I went back on their Instagram and looked through the feed of girls. This time, I was horrified. Not only was Brandy was fetishizing a pre-pubescent body but they were promoting a sort of club that had nothing to do with one’s sense of style. I didn’t see a single girl of color on their social media or anyone that looked like they were bigger than a size 0. I tried to tell myself I had stopped wearing their clothes because of these reasons but I knew that I had stopped wearing them because you could always guarantee that someone would have the same piece as you. Regardless, even I can’t argue with the convenience and price of the brand. After all I remember the euphoria of sliding into one of their tiny dresses and feeling like I was part of their “cool girl” tribe. However, next time you consider going shopping, remember what Brandy’s exclusive club is trying to promote and how they are using you to do it.