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Fast fashion has finally given ‘Love Island’ the ick


By Sarah Finnan
19th May 2022

From Lifted Entertainment

Fast fashion has finally given ‘Love Island’ the ick

‘Love Island’ producers have revealed that contestants will wear pre-loved fashion this season in line with their new partnership with eBay. 

Gearing up for its long-awaited seasonal return, Love Island is due to hit TV screens across Ireland and the UK in the coming weeks… but things look set to be very different this year, with the cult show confirming that they have cut ties with their fast fashion sponsor and will be teaming up with eBay instead. 

“We strive to be a more eco-friendly production, with more focus on ways in which we can visibly show this on screen,” executive producer Mike Spencer told Vogue Business of the decision.

“The impact of Love Island and its stars across the UK is undeniable and together we want to inspire the nation to choose preloved first when shopping. Even if this means buying or selling one or two preloved items to start with, it’s a step in the right direction,” Jemma Tadd, head of fashion at eBay UK added. 

Clothing production has doubled in the past 15 years, but the number of times an item is being worn has decreased by 36%. In even more worrying news, global clothing consumption is projected to rise by 63% by the time 2030 rolls around… that’s less than a decade away. As it stands, the fashion industry is currently responsible for 10% of the world’s annual global emissions – more than that of all international flights and maritime shipping combined. 

The figures are scary, but the good news is that the large majority of people want to buy pre-owned fashion so the appetite for second hand and pre-loved is there, it just needs to be catered to. 

Facing much public backlash for its previous associations with fast fashion brands such as Missguided, Boohoo and I Saw It First, the reality series is clearly taking viewer feedback seriously and this marks the first time that a show with such a huge following/platform has gone against the grain and opted to support the circular economy. 

Molly-Mae x PLT 

Earlier this year, there was huge outrage after PLT – whose creative director is former Love Island star Molly-Mae Hague – made its London Fashion Week debut. Hordes of anti-fast fashion protestors gathered outside the show to demonstrate, most of them citing poor working conditions, unfair wages and the obvious environmental impact as the main reasons for their grievances. 

Amongst them was Brett Staniland, another ex-islander, whose supporters have since credited him with helping to “change the cultural zeitgeist”. A high-fashion model himself, he’s made a conscious decision to distance himself from fast fashion over the years, telling Grazia, “I’ve worked exclusively with either luxury high end or sustainable brands for the last few years, and I’ve distanced myself from fast fashion for quite a while.  

“When the opportunity came up, that we could perhaps create some change and raise awareness around the bad practices of fast fashion and their unethical business model – I thought it’d be really good,” he continued. 

There were mixed feelings to his LFW display, however. “At London Fashion Week, people have come up to me and said ‘Well done, we saw the protest’. Equally, I’ve had people abusing me for trying to bring down women or saying, ‘It’s not Molly-Mae’s fault’. I’m not directly trying to attack Molly-Mae, she’s part of it but she’s not the whole thing. It was never about bringing down aspirational women. It’s about making people aware that this kind of business exploits women in their supply chains and exploits communities all over the world,” he explained.

“Before I entered the villa, I was offered £500 to spend with the show’s sponsor,” he later told Vogue. “Once I was inside, I was delivered duffel bags full of free clothes every three or four days, which I also declined. It was mind-blowing to see so many clothes worn once and then discarded. The show is symbiotic with fast fashion.”

For love or money? 

Which brings us to the age-old debate of whether contestants go on Love Island for love… or for money. 

Branding itself as a reality dating show, the programme has become synonymous with influencer culture over the years and with so many fast fashion deals resulting from contestants’ appearances on the series, it’s not hard to ascertain what the driving factor often is. 

Favouring impossibly attractive young people already with an established social media following, there’s no denying that the premise makes for good TV, but bikini-clad “love-seekers” are less interested in the matchmaking side of things than before – viewing the series as a launchpad for their careers above all else. 

Last season, Brad told Lucinda that she could “get more opportunities” by staying while he left, insinuating that her motives for being there were purely transactional. Sure enough, a couple of weeks later and she landed a huge deal with I Saw It First. 

Winner Millie Court has had several exclusive design drops with ASOS since exiting the villa last summer. One of the show’s top style influencers, Vogue reports that searches for “marble dress” surged by 127% after she was seen wearing a one-shoulder version, while her hot pink co-ord resulted in 114% more related searches. 

The new sponsorship deal with eBay throws an interesting spanner in the works, in terms of future collaborations for contestants. However, new research from eBay reveals that UK shoppers are becoming increasingly more conscious of fast fashion – the platform has recorded one pre-loved fashion sale every second so far in 2022.

In fact, one-fifth of British people admit that they buy more second-hand fashion now than they did two years ago, noting that approximately 16% of their wardrobes are made up of pre-loved clothes. 

A shared wardrobe will reportedly be installed in this season’s villa so contestants can borrow/rewear pieces throughout the duration of the show. Celebrity stylist and second-hand enthusiast, Amy Bannerman, has also been brought on to help with styling. eBay will have a greater presence on itv.com and across the show’s social media channels, with viewers also being able to shop their range of pre-loved goods thanks to a new “shop the show” tab on the official Love Island app. 

As producers put it, this season’s contestants will be encouraged to practise the “eat, sleep, rewear, repeat” mentality. 

Where to shop 

With interest in sourcing second-hand and designer products at an all-time high, more and more places have been popping up to accommodate demand. So, with that in mind… where does one shop for pre-loved goods? 

Here are a few of our favourites (though this is by no means an exhaustive list). 

Thriftify 

The Resolution Store 

rêverie 

Style Swap

Resale Therapy

Vestiaire Collective 

Siopaella 

Reliked

Rococo Vintage

Imparfaite Paris

Open For Vintage

Our heads have well and truly been turned.