Clothing and fashion — especially in a gendered society obsessed with policing the bodies of girls and women — are an extremely important part of establishing and expressing identity in most cultures. As such, accessibility to clothing, and clothing that fits, becomes important. With such a scrutinizing eye placed on women and girls especially in North America, the clothing industry has a huge influence on the way women view themselves. With a history of defining beauty and acceptability based on the size of her jeans, a girl in Brandy Melville’s target demographic will range anywhere between age 14 to 25, and telling her that “one size fits most” is another way that she is told that her body should look this way, so that this sweater or tshirt will hang that way when she wears it, so that she can try, and fail to fit anywhere in the rubric set out by companies like Brandy. We have chosen to #BoycottBrandy, and clothing stores like it, based on the following principles:
- There is little to no cultural/ethnic representation in their advertising campaigns. The models on the Brandy Melville’s official website and Instagram account depict an overwhelmingly white cast of women modelling their clothes.
- “One size fits most” implies that women of many different sizes and shapes do not exist. If BM clothes don’t fit you, then you are an outsider. The models in Brandy Melville’s campaigns are of the same body type. But most women are not the same size as those in their campaigns: the average clothing size in North America is somewhere around a 12-14 pant size— so why are our most visible models, the exemplars of feminity, so much smaller than that? Seeing tiny models everywhere is alienating and exclusionary, and puts a lot of pressure on women to attempt, often times dangerously, to fit that ideal.
We also aim to examine the inconsistencies in “standard” clothing sizes across stores with similar target demographics: why is a size 6 at one store the same as a size 8 at another, only to be a size 10 at yet another different store? This is especially problematic, considering the more frequent, actually standard sizes more consistently found in men’s clothing. Stay tuned here for more information, thoughts, and analysis as we explore the tumultuous world of gendered clothes shopping, on our way to #BoycottBrandy!