Brandy Melville – Is the Stick Thin Aesthetic Out Of Place In a Modern Society Of Body Positivity?

Brandy Millville’s one size fits all policy is incredibly problematic and damaging for teenage girls, contributing to the growth of eating disorders and body dysmorphia amongst the teenage population. Brandy Melville is a worldwide clothing brand, offering casual and stylish attire. Yet in a society of body positivity and surging eating disorder mortality rates, the brand still chooses to promote a very unhealthy image amongst young women. 

The brand advocates the perfect size as a size zero, with a waist around 24 to 25 inches. The normalisation of this size guide is ridiculous, it excludes many women within a healthy BMI range and something needs to change. 

According to a recent study carried out by the NHS on BMI and waist size, women should only be concerned about health risks if their waist is above 31.5 inches, which is significantly higher than the 24 and 25 inch policy which is promoted by Brandy Melville. These statistics heightened my concerns over the brand.

After looking on Brandy Melville’s website, I wasn’t convinced that the brand could actually be normalising this image for young women. I understand that some women are naturally petite and healthy and it is great that the brand accommodates for women of these sizes. Nevertheless, the brand doesn’t even consider anyone above a size zero! This is shocking.

Concerned at this, I attempted to seek justification from Brandy Melville. Jessy Longo, an executive of the brand stated in an interview that “the one-size-fits-most clothing might turn off somebody if they don’t walk into the store, but if you walk in you’ll find something even if it’s a bag.”

Quite frankly, I found this statement ridiculous. 

Imagine going into a store for an outfit and coming out with a bag because nothing fits! What’s even worse is that you could be a completely healthy body size and still nothing fits! 

Brandy Melville convincing women that they must be a size zero doesn’t seem like that big a deal on the face of things, surely girls should just boycott it and shop somewhere else? But this is much easier said than done. Imagine all of your friends shop here as part of a teenage trend (I was guilty of having the obsession with Hollister and Jack Wills back in the day). You might just be slightly larger than your friends. You could just have a slower metabolism, different genetics or be at a different stage of puberty, but as a 17 year old girl you compare yourself to your friends and the tiny Brandy Melville sizes. Your self-esteem is low and you convince yourself you need to lose weight. This sparks an incredibly negative cycle of body dysmorphia and in more extreme cases, an eating disorder. 

Women feeling they need to be a smaller size than their body wants them to be is so dangerous. We all have a set point weight within a BMI range and we should stay at that point for optimum health, so why does Brandy Melville think it’s acceptable to not accommodate women within the range of at least a healthy BMI?

A recent study has revealed that Anorexia Nervosa has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder in adolescence, the group at which Brandy Melville markets its size zero products towards. One person every hour in the US dies of an eating disorder and Brandy Melville are contributing to this. Surely it is time someone did something about this?

In an age where we have an upsurge of body positivity, with inspiring women such as Mama Cāx, Emily Bador and Milly Smith on Instagram, to name a few, we need to normalise what is healthy and make women feel empowered through clothing and body image. It is so wrong to make a woman feel concerned or worthless just because they can’t buy clothing from a store which excludes many healthy body types. 

I hope this article urges you to boycott buying from Brandy Melville and understand the dangers surrounded by the promotion of this excluding, skinny aesthetic.

Jessica Farmer 

Image credit: Brandy Melville Singapore