Studies show that nearly 30 million people in the United States suffer from an eating disorder. Teenagers around the nation are suffering from eating disorders as well as being diagnosed with anxiety and depression at alarming rates. It is important to note that a large number of these victims are female and under the age of 18.
One main cause of these issues among teens is social comparison. Instagram, now with over 800 million users, has become the main site for young girls to start the social comparison, whether that is with friends, companies, or models. 60% of instagram users are between the ages of 19-25 with 42% visiting instagram each day, making teenagers the target audience of many brands on instagram. Brandy Melville, in particular, has 3.9 million followers and 8,007 pictures of models in their clothes, specifically white, skinny teenagers. By only promoting their clothes in one specific body type and race,
Brandy Melville has forced each instagram user to compare themselves to unrealistic body types. Brandy Melville’s choice to only carry one size of clothing has been a key idea in the design of the store since its beginning in 1970. The idea behind this one size fits all clothing style was designed to target slimmer girls, generally sizes 0-2. Hailey*, a Senior in high school, feels that Melville’s design “excludes a large number of girls, including me.”
When conducting our own interviews we wanted to have a strong focus on how teenage girls view themselves inside and outside the store. We interviewed three senior girls: Hailey, Samantha, and Brittany; Hailey and Samantha are both caucasian and Brittany is African American. Hailey*, Samantha*, and Brittany* all agree that Brandy Melville pants do not fit their body types.
For someone with a larger chest or a taller girl this shirt may fit too tight and be very cropped on them, meaning the shirt length would come before the belly button. Or if a girl has a very small chest or is shorter or slimmer than the so called “average” girl shopping at this store, the shirt may be too large and not fit correctly. So, why are girls continuing to shop at Brandy Melville?