Is Brandy Melville Fast Fashion? Analysis and Alternatives

Maybe you shop at Brandy Melville, or perhaps you’ve seen the band hit the headlines in the past few years for all the wrong reasons. So now you’re asking yourself, should I really be supporting this brand?

Well, you’re not alone. So join us while we take a deep dive into the brand and ask Is Brandy Melville Ethical? and Is Brand Melville fast fashion.

About Brandy Melville

Brandy Melville is a cult teen fashion brand creating casual clothing and accessories.

Founded in Italy in the early 80s by Silvio Marsan and his son Stephan Marsan, the brand opened its first store across the pond in America in 2009, where it grew in popularity, leading it to be one of the top teen clothing brands in 2014.

Today the brand operates online and has 97 stores worldwide, with 36 in the US.

Is Brandy Melville Fast Fashion?

Yes, Brandy Melville is a fast-fashion brand. Although, on first look, it may not look like a fast-fashion brand with its staged product images, the brand follows quickly changing style trends on Instagram and social media to produce large quantities of clothing.

The brand has hundreds of articles on its website, retailing for cheap prices. Plus, when a shirt retails for around $10, we doubt the garment workers are paid a living wage.

What Materials Does Brandy Melville Use?

Brandy Melville uses a lot of cotton in its clothing. While cotton is a biodegradable natural fiber and better than polyester, for example, the material still negatively impacts the environment.

Cotton requires large quantities of water to produce and uses charmful and toxic pesticides, which can harm farmers and the environment. In addition, cotton is often grown and harvested in areas where forced labor and child labor are common.

An improvement for the brand would be to switch virgin cotton for recycled cotton, BCI cotton, or organic cotton; these have lower environmental impacts than virgin cotton.

Is Brandy Melville Carbon Neutral?

No, Brandy Melville is not carbon-neutral. The brand doesn’t publish transparent information about its emissions and isn’t doing enough to reduce its GHG emissions.

Does Brandy Melville Ethical?

We wouldn’t consider Brandy Melville an ethical brand for several reasons.

Firstly, the brand doesn’t publish any information about where or who makes its clothes. In addition, Brandy Melville doesn’t have an ethical code of conduct available to read, so we can only assume the brand isn’t doing enough to champion safe working conditions for garment workers or living wages.

Not only is the brand unethical in its garment production, but it is also unethical in how it runs its stores and treats employees and customers.

There are many reports that the company is inherently racist and body shames customers and staff, with statements from Brandy Melville employees that the hiring and firing practices were influenced by race.

Plus, if that wasn’t bad enough, the brand operates a ‘one size fits all model, only offering clothing in small sizes, which further fuels the body-shaming ethos of the brand. By offering a lack of inclusive sizing, the brand excludes many body sizes and shapes, leading to unrealistic and dangerous body standards, which is extremely dangerous for the teenage girls who shop the brand.

Where are Brandy Melville’s Clothes Made?

Worryingly, there is no information given by Brandy Melville about where its clothes are made or the working conditions and standards of its suppliers.

Is Brandy Melville Cruelty-Free?

Again, the brand gives no information on whether it has an animal-welfare policy.

Does Brandy Melville Have A Clothing Recycling Program?

No, Brandy Melville does not have a clothing recycling program.

Ecothes Opinion: Sustainability Score

We give Brandy Melville a poor rating of 1/5, and consider it a brand we wouldn’t support.

What we liked

We struggled to find any positives about the brand.

What we didn’t like

We didn’t like how opaque the brand is regarding transparency. For example, the brand doesn’t give any information about its suppliers, the working conditions of its garment workers, or whether factories must follow a code of conduct.

We also didn’t like the ‘one-size fits all’ sizing model and think it promotes a dangerous message to young girls.

To top it all off, we didn’t like that racism, and body shaming is the culture at the brand and within its stores.

Sustainable Alternatives to Brandy Melville

Luckily, many brands are creating size-inclusive, ethical, and sustainable clothing. We’ve highlighted our favorite sustainable alternatives to Brandy Melville below.

1. Afends

Afends sustainable alternatives to Brandy Melville

Sustainability: Natural and sustainable materials include hemp, organic, and recycled cotton. Ethical production and supply chain transparency.

Best for: Tanks, tops, dresses

Sizes: XS-XL

Afends alternatives to Brandy Melville

2. Mate The Label

Mate The Label ethical alternative to Brandy Melville

Sustainability: Made in Los Angeles clothing using eco-friendly materials.

Best for: T-shirts, shorts, crop tops

Sizes: XS-3X

Mate the Label

3. Reformation

Reformation sustainable brands like Brandy Melville

Sustainability: Ethical clothing made in the USA and certified factories from sustainable materials like recycled fabrics and organic cotton. Clothing recycling program.

Best for: Dresses, blouses, denim

Sizes: 0-24

Reformation ethical brands like Brandy Melville

4. Girlfriend Collective

Girlfriend Collective

Sustainability: Sustainable activewear created from recycled plastic bottles.

Best for: Activewear, tanks, t-shirts

Sizes: XXS-6

Girlfriend collective sustainable alternatives to Brandy Melville

5. Parade

Parade alternatives to Brandy Melville

Sustainability: Responsible fabrics and sustainable production practices.

Best for: Underwear, tanks, t-shirts

Sizes: XS-3X

Parade underwear

If you were surprised by the lack of transparency by Brandy Melville, and want to check whether other brands are ethical, discover our posts on Nasty gal, Banana Republic, Hollister, and more.

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Bethany

Bethany Worthington BSc (Hons) (she/her) is the Sustainable Fashion Editor and Co-founder of Ecothes. She has a passion for the environment, and a long love of all things clothing, and combines those two interests with Ecothes. In her free time she loves dancing, hiking in the countryside, and laughing with friends.

Articles: 141

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