This "Small Size Only" Clothing Brand is an Extra Large Problem

By Peyton Carper on May 27, 2016
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The fashion world is starting to look up for “plus-sized” girls like myself; Aerie recently made plus-sized model Iskra Lawrence the new face of their company, many companies have launched “be comfortable in your own skin”-style ad campaigns to appeal to larger women, and the world is generally coming to terms with the fact that women come in more sizes than extra small. (Not really. Lawrence had people calling her a “fat cow” the very same day she was announced as  the new face of Aerie. Anyway.)

But one company is not going with the flow, and insists on perpetuating the notion that being slim is the only way to be beautiful. Meet Brandy Melville, a fashion company who provides one size of clothing and one size only: small. Each and every article of clothing comes in one size,  either “x-small/small” or a generous “small/medium”. Companies like Lululemon and Abercrombie & Fitch have famously said that their clothes are not for heavier people, and that their target consumer is thin young men and women. Brandy Melville, however, takes this exclusivity to a completely different level.

The clothes themselves are remarkably plain, but that is not the point of this company; though the price tag is not outlandish, the exclusivity of the company is evident in how they showcase their products. Their models’ bones protrude forcefully, each looking more fashionably miserable than the last. They offer some jewelry and other accessories, but the focus is on these nano-sized shirts and pants.

I’d like to clarify that, of course, I understand that millions of women across the globe are naturally slender no matter their diet, and that a slender figure accompanied by a healthy diet is perfectly healthy. I also recognize that being overweight can be detrimental to one’s health if not accompanied by healthy diet and exercise. But this company does not cater to the athletic, slender woman; this company idealizes the pale waif that media shoves down the throats of our mothers and sisters and daughters as the perfect woman until they starve themselves in order to become her. And that is what is not okay about this company.

What’s worse, the company has no models that are people of color. And I do mean N O N E. Every single model on their website is a thin, tall, white woman. Believe me, I scoured that website for a shred of hope and there was none to be found. This only adds to the hideousness and damaging nature of this company, but after seeing their business platform, I say with a heavy heart that I am not remotely surprised.

Here’s the really disturbing part: even I, a person who is a size 12 and perfectly comfortable in my own skin, while scrolling through the Brandy Melville website, felt myself becoming envious of these thin and fragile women who could fit into these microscopic crop tops and miniskirts. I knew that these feelings were irrational and that being of that small a size has the potential to be dangerous, but knowing that there is no chance that I will ever be close to wearing these clothes somehow made me feel inferior.

And that is exactly where the problem lies. Even someone who holds themself with relatively high esteem cracked under the notion that they would be unable to ever wear these clothes, and that is what the creators of this company feed on. The insecurities of women who have been taught for years and decades to idolize the slender and worship the sickly and pale are exploited for the purpose of selling drab shirts and light wash jeans, and that is inexcusable. This is a trend that we must put a stop to. We must cease our support for those who attempt to make us feel uncomfortable with ourselves and even ashamed for not fitting the impossible mold that not even the creators of these companies can fit.

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Peyton Carper is an Editing, Writing, and Media student at Florida State University. She is a former staff writer with the Beaches Leader Newspaper in Jacksonville Beach, Florida. She is a fierce advocate for the awareness and prevention of sexual assault and domestic violence. She hopes to one day write biographies and own many dogs.

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