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Fashion Stores

Brandy Melville

Posted by Robyn Urback / Posted on September 17, 2012

brandy melville torontoBrandy Melville caters to the teenybopper crew, and it wasn't just the gaggle of braces and backpacks that greeted me upon entering that led me to that conclusion (but let's face it; it was a pretty good clue). Started in Italy, the brand has grown to spread all across the EU, eventually permeating the American market, and then arriving in Canada this year.

brandy melville torontoWhile Vancouver snagged the inaugural Brandy Melville Canada store early 2012, Toronto now has its own shop on Queen West in the former home of Style Exchange (though Toronto shoppers used to be able to find some Brandy options over at Fitzroy Boutique).

brandy melville torontoThe space itself has been done over to feel like the inside of a 16-year-old's scrapbook, with one wall plastered with torn-out novel pages, and another with plaques of hearts and scribbles. For a little local flair, the store also has signs marked with "U of T," "Ryerson," "Little Italy," and more, just so you remember you're in Toronto instead of, say, Milan.

brandy melville torontoI speak to one of the store's managers who tells me Toronto was always in the Brandy expansion plans. "It's been about two weeks," she says. "And we're already so busy."

brandy melville torontoI can't help but notice just how young this woman looks, decked out in one of Brandy's maxi skirts and a loose-fitting sweater, and twirling her hair throughout the duration of the conversation. Flocks of girls drift by as she tells me more about the brand, some huddling crossed-legged around a laptop on the floor, waiting for a friend trying on a crop-top in the change room. I remind myself that I, too, was once like them.

"We definitely appeal to teen girls," the manager continues, at this point clearly stating the obvious, "but women of all ages seem to find something they love in the store, too."

brandy melville torontoThe style is very much boho-hippie, with plenty of loose-fitting options and everything (aside from the denim) labelled as "one size fits most," with the house brands being almost exclusively represented in the store's stock, aside from some of the denim. I take myself on a tour of the store, finding a polar mix of love/hate options.

brandy melville torontoOn the "love" end: a tribal printed maxi skirt ($36), and a side-cut scoop neck tank ($19), among others (I told you it was boho). But other items seemed just a little too "Beatles-shirt-at-Walmart" for me. Case in point: the baseball tee plastered with the image of a youthful, smoking Bob Dylan ($44), and the endless pairs of pre-frayed white denim cutoffs ($42), which were so distressed that the pocket linings were virtually hanging out of the shorts.

brandy melville torontoMy least favourite finds were undoubtedly the Buddha and Hamsa necklaces, encased in little plastic baggies and priced at $7. To be fair — I don't think it was the spiritual commercialization that really irked me. Rather, the concession that a Dylan tee and shiny Buddha necklace would've made me giddy back in high school.

brandy melville torontoBrandy Melville promises new items every week, just a few of which will be printed with "Nirvana" across the front.

Photos by Jimmy Lu

Discussion

53 Comments

lol / September 17, 2012 at 10:05 am
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ENOUGH WITH THE AMERICAN FLAG SHIRTS!!!!!!!!!! I BET U NO AMERICANS ARE WALKING AROUND WITH "VINTAGE SCREEN PRINT MAPLE LEAFS FLAGS" STOP TRYING TO LOOK LIKE AN URBAN OUTFITTERS MANIKIN AND SHOW SOME FLIPPIN NATIONAL PRIDE!
pamela replying to a comment from lol / September 17, 2012 at 12:10 pm
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haha oh god, cool it.
Chris / September 17, 2012 at 10:44 pm
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John Galt?!? are they going after the tween libertarian market?
frankie / October 3, 2012 at 07:09 pm
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does anyone know the contact information for this store!?!?!?
Jenn / October 5, 2012 at 03:07 pm
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The staff at this store are insanely rude, unhelpful and have a major sense of entitlement. I will never go back
Elizabeth / October 9, 2012 at 08:50 pm
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I agree with Jenn. The staff is really rude.
Elizabeth replying to a comment from lol / October 9, 2012 at 08:51 pm
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It's an American company.
Alayna / October 14, 2012 at 01:16 am
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I personally feel I have traveled all over the brandy stores in the world . I lived in New York for 2 years and the New York brandy girls always seemed so bitchy and rude . I am a Canadian my self , and now that I have moved back home I am happy to see a brandy here in Toronto .bmy first day shopping there was great , I was greeted nicely by a tall young man and the young ladies in the change room really helped me out well . The staff seemed pretty bubbly to me and thu were all telling me to take my time , while thier store was up for closing . I was cash out by a beautiful tall black cashier , and she made me feel very comfortable with my purchases and even gave me ideas on how to style them out . When finishing my transactions a young lady walked me out and wished me a good night . I am in this store every 2 weeks since its been open , busy or not busy the Toronto staff was always good to me . Therefore I feel it depend on certain ppl vibe towards employees at stores that sometimes you may feel its bad customer service.my little sister I there every weekend and she always tells me the girls In the change rooms always help her pick out good outfits . Just go more guys and you will see what I mean .
Tarah replying to a comment from Elizabeth / October 14, 2012 at 12:47 pm
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Hello

I disagree with the comments above.. I think the staff is very helpful. I myself have been to almost 5 different Brandy Melvilles.

Santa Monica store and all of them in California ARE TERRIBLEEE... The girls think they are better than everyone else are so rude and wouldn't know customer service if it bit them in the ass. NYC is just as bad. Vancouver I wasn't overly impressed by either.

Toronto I had at least 3 girls ask me if I needed a hand through out the hour I was in there. They were not pushy either just being kind and helpful.

TORONTO BRANDY IS MY FAV! Thanks Brandy Toronto
Moi replying to a comment from Elizabeth / October 16, 2012 at 09:50 pm
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It's actually Italian.
boop / November 14, 2012 at 08:43 pm
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LOL @ the tone of the reviewer who wrote this article.
Connie / November 15, 2012 at 03:46 pm
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I've never been to Brandy but u hav NO IDEA how much i want to go. Sadly i cant shop for a while so gonna go on Boxing day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHO HOO
Charlie1970 replying to a comment from Jenn / November 20, 2012 at 02:35 pm
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I agree with Jenn as well, even my 19 year old daughter thought staff was rude.😳
Marcy / December 11, 2012 at 03:40 pm
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It's an Italian Company!
Christine / January 2, 2013 at 01:57 pm
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I think it depends on what you look like whether you're going to get good service or not. I can definitely see a thin, pretty girl being treated with greater service than someone who is considered more 'average'.
Sarah / January 26, 2013 at 05:28 pm
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I love the store, but the rude clientele absolutely ruin the experience. I'm glad I'm not the only one who felt this way. I really hope someone from head of office reads this and considers some ettiquette and customer appreciation courses.

Especially for you, chick with the black lipstick.
Fetzer / February 1, 2013 at 11:50 pm
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Why does anyone NEED good customer service in a store like this? You don't need anyone to be nice to open a change room door, or to cash you out. A zombie can do it. If they're rude, just ignore them. Or you know, make a gigantic mess in the change room. ;-P
Cristina / February 2, 2013 at 02:10 am
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WORST staff ever. They all should be fired because they are absolutely useless and RUDE...they need to be reminded that they are working retail for a living...doesn't exactly come with prestige.
Jackie / February 17, 2013 at 02:36 pm
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This hardly seemed like a review of the store, but a personal reflection of the writer's taste.
Jen / March 11, 2013 at 03:52 pm
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Yesterday i bought a shirt at the Toronto brandy Melville location. I got home and found 17 little holes in my brand new shirt, me being very upset and mad, i tried to go back today and get a refund or another one of the shirts. I brought the shirt and the receipt with me to the store, i was told that since i had taken the tags off there was nothing that could be done about it. This wasn't ok considering anyone who shops there knows they only out stickers with a number on them for tags. I paid 22 dollars for this small crop-top to that night fid it was covered in holes, and they would not so anything about jt.
Very upsetting, as much as i liked their clothes, not going back.
Lisa / March 27, 2013 at 02:42 pm
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Okay so the Yorkdale store just open Saturday . I visited the store and it was really packed and too much staff on floor . I was very upset with the service i got form the staff . I felt it was not multicultral and too much teenagers working . Alot of little asain girls walking around thinking they dont need to help customers. I was Cashed out by a heavy Asain girl her name on my reciept was Candace Cruz . My transaction was over $300 dollars and i found that she was very slow , she didnt end up interacting to me , and when i asked her what was the exchange policy and if i can Excahnge at the Queen Street store , she then was rude to me and told me " no this is the only store you can exchange at " when i asked her as to why not the Queen store she explained she does not know and i should speak to a manager bc she has a line up. I was very dipleased and Angry . I then told my sister if we ever have to shop for this company it will for sure be at the queen location where everyone is Freindly and open . I am very displeased and frustrated as to why i got this service . I hope things can change and work out for this store
Amy / April 4, 2013 at 09:58 pm
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@Lisa, your comment sounds more like a hate towards asians than a review about the store's customer service.
Sarah / April 6, 2013 at 06:59 pm
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The clothes at this store are amazing; however, their "one size fits most" is a huge disappointment as most girls belonging to their target demographic are NOT anorexics or size 00's. I'm fairly small (5'3, 115 lbs, 34 bust, and size 3 pants/dress) and NOTHING fits. Brandy Melville needs to make more clothes for women and teens of all sizes. I recommend an XS S M L XL XXL size range to better suit the wide variety and shapes women come in.
tifanny replying to a comment from Jen / April 20, 2013 at 09:22 pm
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you should have look at the shirt more throughly while in the store before buying it :/
joanne replying to a comment from Amy / May 3, 2013 at 03:49 pm
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Set foot in the store at the Yorkdale location and quickly discovered that the staff was very rude and stuck in groups while nastily eying customers. I see the word "bitch" used a lot in their graphic tee's... totally reflects the atmosphere of the store.
Crystal / May 6, 2013 at 06:47 am
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@Sarah. Just curious as to how the clothes don't fit you if you are 5'3 l,115lbs 34 bust an wear a size 3 bottoms? I'm 5'3 also 128 lbs a 32 bust an wear a size 3 or 5 bottoms an the shirts all fit me fine. It's not like they are tight or super big on me either. They fit perfect! Just thought it was weird they don't fit you.
B replying to a comment from Elizabeth / May 10, 2013 at 09:17 am
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It's an italian company.
Elly / May 30, 2013 at 04:19 pm
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are the Canadian prices the same as the American prices? Cause I was gonna wait to go to Cali and get the stuff that I wanted, but there's a brandy in Toronto. So if anyone can reply to this question, it will be greatly appreciated (: ALSO, I;m seeing comments about how their rude.But how? Do they give dirty looks? do they say rude things? or do they just not help out? cause I wanna prepare myself when I go there LOOL.
bay / June 3, 2013 at 05:14 pm
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Most beautiful clothes in the world!
I agree w Fetzer- who cares if the staff is rude, you're not going there to hang out, get some cute clothes by yourself (:
Sooo beautiful
Lizzy / June 5, 2013 at 03:33 am
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I was in the yorkdale store this pass weekend , i will never go back , i found the 2 young ladys in the changeroom was rude , i asked if one of them can get me a new set of bandeau seeing that the one i had elastic was coming out. sadly she rolled her eyes while she turned and told me "one moment", i waited 15 minutes in my changeroom , yet no one even came to let me know if they had the bandeau on floor or not.finally when i put my clothes on and grabbed my stuff , i came out the changeroom yet they didnt even remembered i asked for the item. I was upset i left the rest of my purchases at the table , i feel a stores customers service should benefit from thier staff however this staff seemed like it had none.
Janet / June 13, 2013 at 10:06 pm
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I visited the Yorkdale location recently for the first time and was greeted by a girl with long curled brown hair, chewing gum and dancing ridiculously. I had a hard time finding items with my daughter because she is rather petite but we were able to find a few and decided to try them on. When putting my daughter in a room the young girl said "my name is Melanie and my coworker is Sabrina let us know if he need any help" The two girls were very polite, advised my daughter and I about the latest trends and styled her as well. Although they were just trying to do their job and sell their merchandise, they cared more about the two of us being comfortable In the clothing and was able to convince my daughter to wear shorts under her skirts and bandeaus. All in all we walked into the fitting room with about 5 items and walked out with about 14 thanks to the lovely girls in the fitting rooms. Hopefully the girls receive recognition for their hard work and good effort as well as the cashier who cashed me out, Zoe who was also very polite!! Thanks brandy Melville Yorkdale, never going back to queen street!
Rae / July 3, 2013 at 09:55 am
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Shopped at the Yorkdale location. It was my first Brandy experience. I love the style, so me. The staff were friendly. My only problem is the exclusivity of the brand, i.e. the size. I am very petite and some of their stuff was tight on me. Most girls are not the size of a Brandy girl and the company is part of the continuation of a monolithic beauty ideal. I would love to see more variety in size so anyone can rock the style.
Emi / August 15, 2013 at 09:05 pm
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The comments about the clothing sizes are ridiculous. If anything, Brandy Melville tries to cater to everyone of all shapes and sizes. There are many small tops yes, but there are many oversized and baggy tops and many that are medium sized. If you can't fit into a crop top, you probably shouldn't be wearing one anyway.
Monica / August 21, 2013 at 12:34 pm
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Does anyone have those floral backpacks with leather flaps and is willing to sell it to me?! I can't find it anywhere ):
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P Hobbs / November 5, 2013 at 02:04 pm
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Yesterday I took both my daughters shopping and was amazed and stunned at the items that had both AMerican and Canadian pricing at the store in Yorkville. I wrote to Brandy Melville and was told it's a franchise and up to each store.

I understand that there needs to be a price difference and that it might not always reflect today's exchange rate as this fluctuates. That amazed me was there was absolutely no consistency.

For example... The items that was 19 US was 22 CDN a mark up of 15.78%
The item that was 32 US was 38 CDN a mark up of 18%
and my favourite an item that was 35 US was 44CDN a mark up of 25%!

Is it that you think no one will notice? I am very disappointed and will probably only shop in the US now for Brandy Melville.
Gloria / January 8, 2014 at 03:45 pm
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I honestly don't see the big deal about Brandy Melville... it's not that I don't have enough money to shop there, but their clothes are SO plain! They really aren't all that.
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Esther / March 30, 2014 at 12:56 am
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My daughter has her entire closet of Brandy clothes. She bought a dress which I didn't like for a formal party and we went the next day to return it . We wanted our money back and they said there aren't any refunds. My daughter said she heard about the return policy of 14 days but they leave the most important thing out . You can't get your money back! I think that's a rip off! Plus they tell you that after your purchase so the sale has already been performed . So your stuck with the clothes or store credit. I think the owner is a person that cares about quantity of clients not quality . Last time I ever give my daughter money to buy at this store. The owner should stop this policy of no refunds or else his business will go down really fast! If your banking is thanks to all of us . Brandy Melville won't last long so make all you can this year! Good luck you thief!!! Cheating people out by no refunds!

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