Brandy Melville isn’t exactly a who, but a what. The Brandy Melville brand was created by Italian father and son duo Silvio Marsan and Stefan about 20 years ago in Italy.
The company, which was first introduced in the USA about 5 years ago, appeals to the tween and teen audience, and is quickly on the rise to outperform the likes of American Eagle as far as popular clothing in the Teen market. Crazy, right? How did this obscure brand suddenly come out of nowhere and dominate? The company relies heavily on its social media marketing and ecommerce, although it does have stores sprinkled throughout the US.
The collections feature a wide array of shorts, slouchy tees, comfy pants, tiny crop tops, high-waisted jeans, and oversized sweaters –All available in only one size: Small.
Brandy Melville is essentially a brand based on a fictional character who embodies the overall vibe and body of a “Brandy Girl.” So, who is ‘that’ girl? After a scan through the website and Instagram feed you will see the Brandy Melville girl is a long-haired, thin teen. This brand image, along with the fact that all of their clothes are Small, has raised a lot of eyebrows, drawn a lot of criticism (an average 2-3 stars on Yelp mostly due to poor customer service). As we have reached a better level of awareness in positive body image and self esteem, it makes sense that a lot of moms, bloggers and even teens are offended by the size exclusion. Perhaps some see this brand as a step back from where we’ve come, especially since the days of Abercrombie.
“Brandy epitomizes the core of what is wrong with our society—telling girls that in order to be beautiful, they must be a certain size. And that size is dictated by society”. -Nancy Chen, Spoon University
One might assume on the outside that the ‘one size fits most’ creates either some form of exclusivity, aimed at skinny girls, while on the other side of the coin, their ‘one size’ approach makes manufacturing simpler. Not only is it common in many countries for ‘Free Size’ or ‘One Size’, but for a company, it makes good financial sense, as there are less size runs, which means less qty and less waste in the long run. And for consumers, they like the no frills concept as well:
“I absolutely love Brandy Melville! The clothes are cute and super comfy. I love how the clothes come in one size only because it means that I won’t even have to try on the clothes. I prefer this over other stores like F21 and Charlotte Russe because I don’t have to deal with an item running out of my size.” – Michelle (Boston)
Ok, I’m really anxious to know your thoughts. What do you think of Brandy Melville?