Love Island breaks up with fast fashion: but is it enough?

Love Island breaks up with fast fashion: but is it enough?

One of the most highly anticipated reality shows each year, popular dating series Love Island enthrals its audience with guaranteed juicy details, savage recouplings and a group of contestants who are arguably more interested in becoming famous than finding love. In fact even if you don’t watch the show, you’re bound to have heard about some of the contestants (we all have the same 24hrs in the day after all).

Along with passionate poolside cocktails and a dash of romance, the series also has a strong history of generating colossal fast fashion sales and it is no secret that many of the contestants are rewarded with brand deals on leaving the villa. In August 2021, former contestant and viral sensation Molly-Mae Hague was appointed creative director of fast fashion brand Pretty Little Thing – a move which brought her backlash as the brand had been tied up in multiple alleged controversies around workers rights, wages and overproduction.

During its span of the last seven years, Love Island has had over 200 contestants with sustainable fashion advocate and model Brett Staniland being the first to publicly challenge the show’s ties with fast fashion. He openly rejected the offer of free clothes during his time on the show. As public backlash against fast fashion continues to grow, Love Island has been forced to make some changes. 

In an effort to challenge their links to fast fashion brands and advocate for preloved clothing, Love Island has just announced it is ditching these fast fashion brands in favour of a partnership with Ebay. This shock recoupling will now see contestants choose from a preloved focused wardrobe curated by celebrity stylist Amy Bannerman.

Image: The Guardian

According to Vogue Business who uncovered the story, recent research from Ebay reveals that 20 percent of UK consumers buy more secondhand clothing now than they did two years ago, and 16 percent of their wardrobes are now secondhand. This is higher again in the 18-34 age range which is Love Island’s key demographic.

This move away from fast fashion and over consumption is an urgent and much needed step forward as the fashion industry holds the title as one of the largest polluting industries on the planet but, we must ask, is it enough? Will the contestants advocate for sustainable consumption upon leaving the villa and is it really addressing the root of the problem? 

Image: Eco Watch

Without a doubt, a move like this, at the very least, firmly places sustainability on the mainstream agenda and will hopefully inspire more eco-friendly consumption amongst the Love Island audience. The next step is to urge other influencers and popular media sources to follow suit, while holding the many known brands who have dodged human rights complaints, and brushed calls for reform under the piles of clothes in their factories accountable. Most importantly we must continue to amplify those who have long been championing more sustainable alternatives, and the individuals most impacted by these over consumption practices, waste deserts, and unsafe production environments in the first place, whether they are famous yet or not.

words by Erin Grant