Libertarianism Linked John Galt and Clothing Brand Brandy Melville

The founder of the clothing brand Brandy Melville, which has stores in California, is low-key obsessed with libertarianism.

Melissa Willets - Author

Apr. 11 2024, Published 11:22 a.m. ET

A low-angle view of the Brandy Melville boutique clothing store in Walnut Creek, California, Dec. 5, 2018
Source: Getty Images

If you're familiar with the name John Galt, it's for one of two reasons.

Either you've read or heard about the Ayn Rand book Atlas Shrugged, and know that John Galt is a libertarian character in the novel, or you have shopped the clothing brand of the same name.

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So what does one have to do with the other? And what does John Galt have to do with the Italian clothing brand, Brandy Melville? Here's what you need to know about the whole confusing situation.

'Atlas Shrugged' novel by Ayn Rand on display with other old books
Source: Getty Images
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John Galt is a character in a novel — but what does this have to do with Brandy Melville?

Per Business Insider, the founder of the clothing brand Brandy Melville, which has stores in California, is low-key obsessed with libertarianism. Indeed, Stephan Marsan is so into the economic philosophy, he used copies of Atlas Shrugged in his stores as props.

He also named a sub-brand of Brandy Melville by the name of the character in the Ayn Rand tome.

So for confused patrons of the popular teen brand, it starts to make sense why when you visit the Brandy Melville site or visit a store, you can also shop John Galt styles.

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So, are John Galt and Brandy Melville the same thing?

Again, John Galt, also known as J. Galt, is a sub-brand of Brandy Melville, so they aren't exactly the same thing, but it's not too different in the end.

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If you're starting to get a picture of the entire situation, it's worth mentioning that for some, the association of the character with extreme views and the brand is a turn-off.

But, this isn't the first controversy that the brand has faced.

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Brandy Melville backlash is a big part of the brand.

There have been so many controversies associated with the brand, it's actually the subject of a documentary on Max called Brandy Hellville & the Cult of Fast Fashion.

Notably, the employees have opened up about experiencing racism and misogyny in stores.

The founder is also keen on selling styles mostly for thin girls and women, with its "one size fits all" approach. This obviously leaves out an entire demographic of shoppers who have felt ignored or even shamed by the brand.

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Rather than course correcting to suit a more diverse consumer base, Brandy Melville has doubled down that their clothing fits a woman who “has the right body type" for its styles, while others are "unfit" to wear the beachy items.

But as the Los Angeles Times reports, with the main shopper being a teenage girl, it's easy to see how this philosophy is so dangerous.

Indeed, in the end, it seems that naming a sub-brand John Galt is hardly the most extreme aspect of Brandy Melville's marketing approach.

Did we mention that the brand is now selling olive oil in addition to clothing? Yeah, there's a lot going on with this clothing label, and maybe we'll never understand it all.

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