‘A new era for Berkeley’: Brandy Melville opens Telegraph Avenue location

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Joshua Jordan/Senior Staff

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With the start of the spring semester, students will be able to shop at a new Brandy Melville clothing store on Telegraph Avenue — a prospect that has been met with both excitement and disappointment.

Brandy Melville opened its doors Dec. 22 and replaced American Apparel at 2305 Telegraph Ave., across the street from Sproul Plaza.

Brandy Melville’s Berkeley location has received mixed responses among students. The store has been criticized for its sizing policy, which campus sophomore Karissa Lapuz cited in an email as a negative aspect of the company.

Lapuz said in an email, however, that she still looks forward to shopping at Brandy Melville from time to time because of its convenient location, despite the store’s “expensive prices.”

“The store’s opening has both positive and negative aspects,” Lapuz said in an email. “Positive because it is a retailer that caters to teens and young women, but negative because of its controversial, tiny ‘one size fits all’ range.”

Camila Vargas, who graduated from UC Berkeley last year, said Brandy Melville goes against the campus’s emphasis on inclusion because of its sizing policy. She said she was surprised when it opened in place of American Apparel, which she referred to as “a true Berkeley store,” and sees Brandy Melville as an indication of the changing culture of Berkeley.

Vargas pointed to the financial security that comes along with large businesses as a potential reason for renters in Berkeley to choose companies like Brandy Melville. Smaller businesses, she said, tend to be less sustainable.

“When I heard (Brandy Melville) opened in Berkeley, I thought it was very unusual, especially since Berkeley tends to promote smaller businesses and more up-and-coming things,” Vargas said. “This is perhaps a new era for Berkeley.”

Jamie Handley, the women’s department manager at clothing store Urban Outfitters on Bancroft Way, said Brandy Melville’s customers are similar to those of Urban Outfitters. She added, however, that she does not expect the store’s opening to have a detrimental impact on Urban Outfitters.

Handley said Urban Outfitters is not concerned about increased competition due to the new Brandy Melville location just one block away because the opening could foster business for nearby clothing stores.

“It’s more of a food area than it is a shopping area,” Handley said. “(Brandy Melville) could just help us a little because it gives people more of a reason to come over here and go shopping.”

Danielle Kaye is the lead city government reporter. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @danielledkaye.