Fast fashion brand Brandy Melville is the latest subject of an expository documentary, Brandy Hellville & the Cult of Fast Fashion, presenting the underbelly of a seemingly toxic business. Made by Eva Orner and available to stream on HBO, Fast Fashion includes a number of intense, racial and possibly unlawful practices by the brand and its founder and CEO, Stephan Marsan. Viewers are curious about more details related to the documentary. 

What Is Revealed in the Brandy Melville Documentary? 

Brandy Melville hit the fast fashion market and immediately took trends by storm. It was quickly set apart for its one-size-fits-all standard, quickly casting out buyers who were possibly curvier, taller or not a model-thin size. The branding was very much California “Cool Girl” – think beachy vibes, blonde hair, tanned skin – it was Malibu Barbie before the feminist Barbie movie rebrand. 

Brandy Hellville & the Cult of Fast Fashion sets out to expose the dark underbelly of the business, focusing on CEO Marsan’s alleged unspoken rule of who could wear the brand’s clothing, what kind of employees were reportedly allowed to work at the front of the store and the claimed sexual assault of a 21-year-old employee, in addition to a slew of other alarming alleged details. 

Who Is Stephan Marsan?

Marsan is the founder of Brandy Melville and the company’s CEO as of publication. The Italian businessman sold customers on the idea of a one-size-fits-all approach, and while it was a marketing success, Marsan has been at the center of racial and inappropriate allegations all detailed in the new HBO documentary. 

Namely, Marsan allegedly had an understood rule of what kind of employee could represent Brandy Melville in the stores. The CEO reportedly required white employees to work on the floor, while keeping Black employees in the stock room and behind the scenes. He also allegedly required full-body pictures of employees to be sent to him while workers were on the clock – if he didn’t approve of their outfit, he’d fire them, as claimed in Fast Fashion. Marsan has been additionally accused of dealing with young women in an inappropriate manner, reportedly giving out copies of conservative-leaning books to liberal employees. It was also under his guise that a 21-year-old employee was allegedly sexually assaulted in the “Brandy apartment” in Soho by a middle-aged Italian man. Her records from hospitalization stated that she was “raped by her boss and didn’t want to report it” for fear she’d lose her job. 

It seemed as though Marsan’s reign was coming to an end in 2021, when Insider published an exposé about him and the company, using former employees’ testimonials and screenshots of alarming messages to and from Marsan to make their case. 

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In regards to the “type” of employee who could work the floor of a Brandy store, Insider claimed in their reporting via a whistleblower that a “really light-skinned and redhead” was Marsan’s preferred worker. 

“If Stephan didn’t like some of them, he would send it back to me privately and say, ‘Fire her,’” a former senior vice president of the company additionally told cameras. 

As for the messages – sent in a chat called “Brandy Melville gags” – the group allegedly included more than 30 men, including the company’s senior executives. The group chat reportedly saw Marsan wearing an article of clothing made to spell “Hitler,” in addition to other alarming behavior. 

“Everybody will laugh at the most stupid joke he made, even if they were not funny,” Franco Sorgi, the former owner of 11 Brandy locations, said in the exposé. “Everybody would kiss his a–like you can’t even imagine. I wouldn’t be surprised if people … in the chat would post nasty stuff just to make him happy.”

Though Marsan was additionally at the center of two racially-based lawsuits – one by former senior vice president Luca Rotondo and the other by former store owners – parent company Bastiat USA maintained that Marsan did not fire anyone “on account of his or her race.” It appears that the suits were settled. 

Who Owns Brandy Melville?

Brandy Melville’s North American operations are currently run by Bastiat USA. The company was previously owned by Marsan, who – alongside his father – launched the business in Italy before bringing it to the United States. 

Is Brandy Melville Still in Business?

Brandy Melville is still in business as of publication, offering in-store and online shopping.

Where to Watch Brandy Melville Documentary?

Viewers can watch Brandy Hellville & the Cult of Fast Fashion on HBO and Max. 

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