Searching the racks for inclusivity

It’s time for back-to-school shopping, and you stumble upon some trendy tops from the Brandy Melville website. As you scroll, you notice something unsettling: all of their models are skinny, blonde and white. 

As I browsed Brandy Melville’s Instagram posts and website, I couldn’t help but feel disassociated from the products. I didn’t feel as if I fit the standard of beauty promoted in their selection of models. I barely saw any people of color. I saw no Asian Americans. And I definitely did not see a waist wider than 30 inches.

Brandy’s selection of models isn’t the only thing exclusive about them. Despite their cultish following amongst teenage girls, their clothing only comes in one size which only fits a select body type. 

While this marketing method may initially seem counterintuitive in terms of profits, its success feeds off the toxic fast-fashion industry. Through their quick sales of trendy clothes, the company can cheaply create a brand image or  “aesthetic” attainable only for a select demographic, sending a clear message to young women that only slim bodies are deemed acceptable in their customers.

This one-size-fits-all marketing strategy only exacerbates insecurities already prevalent amongst teenage girls. While this mostly applies to their tops, their website showcases jeans and skirts that exclusively fit a 28 to 30-inch waist, despite 32.6 inches being the average waist size of a teenage girl.

The company’s idolization of skinny culture has led many of these girls to stumble down the dark road of poor self-image simply because they don’t fit the box–or the clothes–that society and Brandy Melville have constructed for them.

It’s clear that the white men in charge of companies like Brandy Melville don’t care at all about their customers, because at the end of the day, bodies and skin tones aren’t aesthetics that should be marketed. Though we may be past the days of normalized racism, the outdated Eurocentric perception of beauty continues to be projected through white models, employees and even customers. 

These concepts aren’t unique to Brandy Melville. Many other companies and their CEOs have received criticism for marketing behaviors promoting whiteness and models’ bodies instead of the actual clothes.However, unlike Brandy Melville, these criticized companies like Victoria’s Secret and Abercrombie have since attempted to diversify their sizings. 

Other newer brands like Aerie and ASOS are known for their promotion of inclusivity, showcasing models of varying races, bodies and gender identities. With more inclusive clothing, actual sizes and diverse models, these companies show their customers that they can finally find clothes that will fit their body types. 

So as consumers, we need to make the conscious choice to stop enabling blatantly misogynistic policies. 

We have the power to spend our money at more inclusive stores and save our generation from the jaws of this toxic industry.