Forgotten Faces

Racism and Brandy Melville


by Allison Abrams

If you’ve ever purchased something from the Brandy Melville clothing store, you know that their clothes are super cute, comfortable, reasonably priced, and have that famous, ‘easy’, “one-size-fits-all” policy. Needless to say, I love a good, versatile Brandy tee, but a few noticeable issues rake my liberal mind when I see an Instagram post or enter their store:

1) most/all of the models or employees are white

2) most/all of the employees are “one-size” but not “fits-all”

The domination of white and skinny models is a problem - one that is not uncommon in the world of fashion. According to a recent study from, 78.69% of the models in the Fall-Winter New York Fashion Week of 2014 were white. Though there are increasing “talks” of diversity in the industry and certain designers are beginning to actively place models of color in their campaigns, the industry remains very much dominated by an antiquated vision of beauty: white skin.

Brandy Melville’s case is particularly upsetting. The models used in their Instagram photos and store displays are young and mostly unknown in the fashion world. They only have stores in California and New York City: both fairly liberal regions. So why do they consistently cast white and blonde (sometimes brunette and red-haired) models for their pictures? Why do they call ‘average’ a size 0 while boasting to be a casual, one-size-fits-all outlet? They should makes clothes in sizes 6, 8, 12, or 14 (for women) and see if they still look mildly comfortable or flattering!

When you scroll through their Instagram, look for the token black woman in the bunch, who is so light - biracial, I assume - she is almost white. There is nothing wrong with biracial women - on the contrary. However, there’s also nothing wrong with fully black women. It is not a difficult decision to place a black, Asian woman, Latina woman in every other picture - or even every picture.

We need to stop consciously choosing white beauty over beauty of color, because if the world could see in black and white, everyone would have a job. That is not the case, so models of color are out of work.

Next time you scroll through a magazine, please take note of the models of color, or lack thereof.

If a small, independent store for young, liberal women won’t portray diversity, who will.

Many of you at LaGuardia are sure to have noticed the lack of diversity at stores like Brandy. It sucks that our favorite places don’t represent what we truly believe in. We know many of you are interested in fashion and photography, so if anyone would take up the suggestion of beginning some kind of initiative for this issue (maybe taking pictures of women of color or women of different sizes in Brandy clothes, making a blog, etc.), contact Allison here:

Name *