Thursday, 25 August 2016

An open letter to the owners of Brandy Melville

An open letter to the owners of Brandy Melville.

To whom it may concern,

I don't know if you will see this (you probably won't), but I am so angered by my experience in your store that I had to do something about it.

I've been shopping at Brandy Melville for about 3 or 4 years now. My mum and I first discovered your shop when I was around 17 (and much skinnier than I am now) and I loved it. Your clothes were comfy, the fabric was soft, and pretty much everything was stylish. We'd take a trip to the King's road every time I went to London with my family and I'd come home with at least 3 or 4 items. My two sisters and I are constantly stealing each others' Brandy clothes (they have been the cause of some of our most explosive arguments). At that time your clothes mostly consisted of loose-fitting t shirts, or elasticated shorts, so it didn't really bother me that your shop didn't seem to have more than one size, because it fitted me anyway, and nothing seemed to be ridiculously small.

Yesterday, however, was a different story. I've relaxed a bit this summer and put on some weight; I'll admit that. I've been working very hard on not caring about it, but I've had quite serious body image issues for most of my life so some days it's still quite hard, and I feel fat, and I feel low. So imagine how I felt when I entered your changing room with 5 pieces of clothing and not a single one fit me. My mum passed a dress through the curtain which she thought I might like and I couldn't even get the zip to move - it spread in an open, insulting V across my back, taunting me. I couldn't even get a pair of trousers half way up my leg. I tried on a playsuit and every lump, every part of my body which I deem to be unattractive, was suddenly visible underneath the straining fabric. At this point I was fighting back tears. I am not that big. I am a size 10, 12 at a push. And every time I had to discard a piece of clothing, I'd check the ticket, desperate to see if it was an S or an M or an L, or an 8 or 10 or 12. All I saw each time was ONE SIZE. Those two words smirked at me, a knife twist in my back. Do you know what that says to me, owners of Brandy Melville? Do you know what those two words say to every girl who enters the store who isn't a size 6? That says "There is only one acceptable size to be as a woman, and you should be that size if you want to wear our clothes". And it's not just me that got this message. My mum, witness to my little meltdown, waiting outside the changing rooms, said she saw girl after girl enter the cubicles laden with clothes, smiles on their faces, only to leave looking downcast and hand all their clothes back to the attendant. I watched a petite girl of about 12 struggling to do up the zip on a pair of shorts. Is that the way you want to make your customers feel? Is that the message about body image that you want to send to the young girls who religiously buy your clothes?

I am incredibly disappointed that in a society which places unrealistic standards upon the shoulders of young women, a brand which I used to love so much is enforcing these standards, lowering the self esteem of girls everywhere, myself included, and helping to make self-acceptance almost impossible. I implore you to do something about it. Either get rid of the ONE SIZE system or make that one size big enough to fit the average woman. Heads up, the average woman is probably not a size 6.

Kind regards,

Bianca Gillam

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