The Teen Fashion Epidemic

Kara Rottmann, Editor

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Imagine walking into a store, filled with racks and racks of trendy clothing, and not being able to find anything in your size. For thousands of teens in the United States this is a reality. Stores are starting to only carry one size, small. More specifically, of the most popular stores for teenage girls, Brandy Melville. Thousands of teens are left leaving the stores with a horrible feeling and it’s all because of the teen fashion epidemic, “you have to be skinny in order to be pretty.”

“They are encouraging girls to be unhealthily skinny,” said freshman Alyssa Harclerode, “In a way they are body shaming girls. Brandy Melville’s standards are physically impossible for some girls. Girls are taking it out on themselves. It destroys confidence.”

Courtesy of Brandy Melville
Model from Brandy Melville

Brandy Melville was established in 1970 in a small Italian town by Silvio Marsan. The first store was opened in 2009 in Los Angeles, California. They now have 18 stores in California, New York, and one even here in Georgetown. Most consumers make purchases online and Brandy Melville is even sold at other retail stores such as PacSun. However, controversy arrived when customers quickly realized that not everyone could fit into their clothes, leaving thousands of teenage girls heartbroken.

In order to fit into Brandy bottoms, you have to be a size 0 to a size 2. However, the average Brandy skirt has a waist length of around twenty-five inches. If you do the math, that’s around a size 00. According to the Huffington Post, the average sixteen-year-old girl has a 31 inch waist, which is around the sizes six through a size ten. Tops are more stretchier, claiming a huge popularity from consumers. However, it still just doesn’t add up.

Unlike Brandy, other clothing stores have added other sizes and even plus sizes for more inclusivity, such as American Eagle, Aeropostale, and even Lululemon. These companies are trying to reach a wide variety of consumers, not just a certain group of people. It even shows in their increased sales that adding more sizes to their clothing lines makes for better business. 

Courtesy of Brandy Melville
Model from Brandy Melville

“I like the clothes and I like the style of them,” commented Bella Guerrero, “However, if you can’t fit into a skirt, it really affects your confidence. If you look on their website and Instagram you see these really skinny models and to me, it just seems unrealistic because everybody’s body type is extremely different.” 

Brandy Melville’s stores have caused controversy for years. It’s the argument between healthy body standards and confidence and it seems that Brandy has destroyed them all. There are good parts to their clothing, as well. Unlike their bottoms, Brandy’s tops are super stretchy and comfortable, allowing more people to fit into them. It’s hard to stay confident as a teen, and it’s even harder to find a clothing brand that allows you to build that confidence.