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The teen aesthetics of Brandy Melville

Born on Tumblr, living now around Instagram e TikTok

The teen aesthetics of Brandy Melville Born on Tumblr, living now around Instagram e TikTok

In times of back to school it is normal to think back to the 2000s, to high-school, to the American teen movies that marked a whole generation. Mean Girls, Clueless, Lizzie McGuire but also the Bratz dolls are just some of the icons that dictated the trends of the late 90s and shaped the following decades, becoming a cult in the imagination of the younger generations too. This is why the aesthetics of that period are still present today: with a collegial flavor but attentive to trending topics, the style promoted by Tumblr at the end of the 2000s returns to be talked about.

The return of the Y2K aesthetics

Rock band t-shirts, Dr Martens, tennis skirts and maxi sweatshirts with random prints, low-waisted jeans, (hyper) cropped t-shirts. All typical elements of the Y2K aesthetic, literally the year 2000, whose acronym is used to define the retro-futurist aesthetic of the time.

Old-school and younger brands like Brandy Melville, Subdued, Suite Benedict, American Apparel, Urban Outfitters, are the protagonists of this comeback, offering items "that you would like to find in a vintage shop but that you can buy at a lower price" according to the influencer @alyssainthecity. Thanks to their medium-low price range and the very high engagement created with the audience on their social channels, like TikTok and Instagram, these brands find their target in the lower age groups, especially teenagers.

The case of Brandy Melville

The Y2K teen style is a fresh, young mix that the tons of emerging brands born in the era of Instagram often try to imitate. The pioneer was Brandy Melville, an Italian brand born in 1980 and naturalized American in 2009, when they opened the first physical store near UCLA in Los Angeles, to get closer to her target customer, the Californian school girl.

In 2019 the label generated a turnover of 66.9 million dollars, and from the beginning of 2020 the phenomenon reappeared unexpectedly also in Europe: thanks to lockdown and boredom, Brandy Melville tripled its popularity on Depop and TikTok, where an entire community of teenagers lives, among motivational videos, dance moves, challenges and style advice: this is where a new aesthetic wave is born, described as The Cult of Brandy. Also seeing the brand's Skylar top and Amara dress worn by celebs like Chiara Ferragni, Kaia Gerber, Madison Beer has certainly influenced the hype around something that had been forgotten for long.


All this gave rise to a phenomenon defined with the hashtag #rarebrandy. This means that some of the brand's items, sold out everywhere, are now resold daily at more than double the retail price, up to a 312% increase for the rarest items. It is the brand itself that encourages the hype, being always incertain about any restock: "Unfortunately we don't know when the items will be available in the store or on e-commerce, but we supply just as many almost daily!" you can read on the site.

But despite the hype, the teen brand (as well as its copycats) certainly can't be defined as being ahead of times. The clothing of the brand is available in one size, which corresponds to a European size 32-34, with measurements of 72 cm for the chest, 58 cm for the waist and 83.5 cm for the hips. This creates a specific image of the Brandy girl - as you can immediately notice looking at the campaigns or the Instagram page of the brand - certainly far from the strategies of inclusion and diversity implemented by the entire fashion industry.