21 September 2017

One Size Doesn't Fit All


photographs by Beth Elstone
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Topshop Boutique jeans | Brandy Melville top | Weekday bra | Vans trainers | Nixon watch*

I find myself in Topshop once or twice a month, scouring the rails for pieces of clothing I covert but, obviously, do not need. Last month, there was a new corner! And everything looked very cute. Gingham off the shoulder tops, simple A-line dresses, a knitted vest top. On closer inspection, I realised this corner was no longer Topshop - I'd crossed into the realms of Brandy Melville. And on trying to find my size in the previously mentioned knitted top, it was apparent that there were no sizes. 'One size fits all' at Brandy Melville.

I realise, I am late to the party. But I am also not a slim, popular American high-school attendee, which seems to be Brandy Melville's key audience.

The brand has 3.8m followers on it's USA account, followed by a more casj 715K for Europe. Bloomberg labeled Brandy Melville "Instagram's First Retail Sucess" in 2014. It's estimated that the brand turned over $125 million last year and is growing by 20% every year.

To state the obvious, that's A LOT of money for a brand that offers only one size.


A quick scroll through Brandy Melville's Instagram confirms the obvious; the clothes are made for white, skinny, and preferably, beautiful women.  The message is consistent but it's a message of exclusivity and one, that in 2017, to put it simply, is not okay. 

Using high price points to ensure your products are desirable sucks for those of us who can't afford something but the prices at Brandy Melville are more than accessible. Instead, Brandy Melville is isolating teens, and women, from their clothing using their bodies.

It's not 'one size fits all' but 'one size throughout the store that fits a certain-sized woman and if you're the right size, you can shop here'.

That size converts into a UK6.

I understand how teenagers fall into the exclusivity trap - we were all a teenager once. But as women, I'd like to think we'd use our intelligence, consider others and refuse Brandy Melville our money.

I had this top bought for me as a gift and even though there are many things I see myself in, I won't be going back. Why would I shop somewhere where I know doesn't see some of my friend's fit to purchase their clothes because of their body shape?

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