The Cult of Fast Fashion: Who is the Brandy Melville CEO?

Daisy Phillipson
Photo of Stephan Marsan shown in Brandy Hellville & the Cult of Fast Fashion

With Brandy Hellville & the Cult of Fast Fashion out now, here’s everything you need to know about the CEO of the controversial clothing brand, Brandy Melville. 

Though the true crime genre is often dominated by serial killers, toxic workplace culture has been under the microscope of late. 

Alongside Drake Bell’s abuse claims, Quiet on Set takes a look at Dan Schneider and the environment for many of his Nickelodeon staff members and child stars. 

Now, HBO Original documentary Brandy Hellville & the Cult of Fast Fashion is taking on the topic while examining the world of fast fashion. But who exactly is pulling the strings on the problematic clothing brand?

The Cult of Fast Fashion: Who is the Brandy Melville CEO?

An Italian man named Stephan Marsan is the CEO of Brandy Melville, the controversial brand that sells clothes in one size. He is the son of the company founder, Silvio Marsan. 

The Marsans’ concept for Brandy Melville has proven problematic over the years, as its sizing implies customers must be skinny to be “worthy” to wear its clothes. What’s more, it’s fast fashion, a world in which it’s impossible to avoid exploitation. 

But Eva Orner’s Brandy Hellville & the Cult of Fast Fashion delves deeper into a series of toxic allegations about the father-son duo in the documentary — particularly when it comes to Stephan. 

Photo of Stephan Marsan shown in Brandy Hellville & the Cult of Fast Fashion
Stephan Marsan keeps a low profile online

As one former store owner alleges, there was a “non-written agreement” where Brandy Melville stores needed to employ girls with a specific look: white, pretty, skinny, with blue eyes. “All the guidelines came from Stephan,” he says. “In fact, I was even encouraged to pay them more even though they were not good at what they did.”

Former employees go on to recall how these staff members, often girls around the age of 16, were made to pose for a “daily photograph.” Although this was said to be “brand research,” the images were sent to and kept by Stephan. 

But most troubling of all are the racism allegations. Numerous former staff members who are Asian or African American say they were made to work behind the cash registers or in the stockroom, while white employees were on the shop floor. 

The company faced numerous lawsuits as a result, with one citing a group chat involving the senior staff team called ‘Brandy Melville Gags’. An anonymous former senior VP said the chat involved “cheap humor,” while investigative journalist Kate Taylor puts it more bluntly: “There are some of the most disturbing, vilest messages.”

Among them are sexual, racist, misogynistic images and jokes, referencing Hitler, the Holocaust, and 9/11. One disturbing image shown in the documentary features an emaciated woman wearing an edited sash that reads: “Miss Auschwitz 1943.” Another image shows Stephan’s head photoshopped onto Hitler’s body. 

Despite all of these shocking moments, Stephan is still the CEO of Brandy Melville. But with barely any digital footprint, he’s incredibly difficult to track down. 

Taylor suggests it’s deliberate. “The CEO is usually pretty easy to find from a quick Google search,” she says. “But for Brandy Melville, there was just nothing there. No mission statement. No explanation at all.”

As she dug deeper, she realized each Brandy store is owned by a different shell company, and Brandy Melville is a trademark owned by a Swiss company. 

“So you have all these different companies and trying to figure out how to connect them can get very very confusing,” adds Taylor. “Experts told me that it is probably deliberately confusing. But on pretty much all of them the same person is named. And that person is Stephan Marsan.”

Brandy Hellville & the Cult of Fast Fashion is streaming on Max now. For more true crime, here are all the documentaries heading to streaming this month. And you can find movies to add to your watchlist this April here.

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About The Author

Daisy is a Senior TV and Movies Writer at Dexerto. She's a lover of all things macabre, whether that be horror, crime, psychological thrillers or all of the above. After graduating with a Masters in Magazine Journalism, she's gone on to write for Digital Spy, LADbible and Little White Lies. You can contact her on