Brandy Melville gets slammed on China’s biggest lifestyle platform

Italian fashion brand Brandy Melville, a favorite of Chinese Gen Z consumers, recently faced a setback on Xiaohongshu, one of the country’s leading social media and e-commerce platforms.

It all started on May 11, when a blogger using the pseudonym “Mean Cousin” roast the company for its discriminatory hiring policies and problematic posts on Xiaohongshu. The video quickly garnered over 1,000 comments.

Since arriving in China in 2019, Brandy Melville has become so popular that she has spawned a new term, ‘BM-style.’ Customers who proudly wear the brand even identify themselves as “BM girls”.

According to Mean Cousin, while Brandy Melville is embraced by many in China, it is common is under fire abroad. The blogger also condemned the brand’s one-size-fits-all clothing, which she says fuels body image issues.

“On their Instagram page, you will see that all of their models are skinny, leggy and tall,” Mean Cousin pointed out.

Brandy Melville’s leggy models, who blogger Mean Cousin describes as unrepresentative of most girls. Screenshot via Xiaohongshu

Additionally, the blogger drew parallels between Brandy Melville discriminatory hiring policies abroad and in China. She accused the brand of only hiring girls who fit a specific profile.

In the West, this often means employees are white and blond. The blogger claims similar discriminatory hiring practices can be found in China.

“If you walk into Brandy Melville in Beijing and Shanghai, you’ll meet the most beautiful people in town. Some customers visit the store just to take a picture with the attractive employees there,” she said.

brandy melville china

Brandy Melville employees in China. Screenshot via Xiaohongshu

“That’s the most disgusting part of Brandy Melville: she strives to promote the ‘white, young, skinny’ standard of beauty,” the blogger lamented. “It makes girls think you’re as beautiful as Chinese celebrities and Brandy Melville employees if you can fit into their clothes.”

The blogger ended the video by encouraging “BM Girls” to stop dieting and sacrifice their health to fit into Brandy Melville clothes.

The video was an instant hit on Xiaohongshu and received over 25,000 likes. Many agreed with the blogger.

“Most disappointing brand,” reads the top-voted comment with over 5,000 likes.

Another netizen said, “Although I like their style, the vibe of the company is really disgusting.”

Brandy Melville, the darling of American celebrities such as Kendall Jenner and Hailey Bieber, also has Chinese stars such as Yang Mi and NaNa OuYang among her fans. A chart listing the ideal weight and height for the quintessential ‘BM girl’ floated around the internet at one point, reported the BBC.

Does this story remind you of anything? Well, it should: We recently wrote about how American fashion brand Abercrombie once practiced similar discriminatory policies, as exposed in the controversial Netflix documentary White hot. It seems that this “call culture” trend is an example of the growing awareness among younger generations of the dangers of body shaming and the lack of diversity in fashion.

Cover image via Twitter

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