August 11, 2022 8:53 am

Love Island ditches Fast Fashion for eBay: the Reality

With the return of Love Island to our screens we can be sure to see contest-ants lining up for the latest fashion brand deal. With the likes of Molly-Mae signing her first deal with PrettyLittleThing for £500,000 in 2019, it is remarkable to see the show announce a new partnership with eBay UK which is the first pre-loved fashion partner they have collaborated with. As we are becoming more conscious of what we buy and where it comes from, this collaboration seems to be the inevitable next step.

Approximately 20 percent of Brits have ad-mitted that they buy more second-hand fashion compared to two years ago and in a bid to promote this new lifestyle, islanders will wear pre-loved items this season. Contestants of the well-loved reality show will have a pre-worn wardrobe, Oofos Canada wearing fashion that reflects their individual personalities. This year’s islanders will be styled by the second-hand enthusiast Amy Bannerman who has styled the likes of Sophie Turner, Dua Lipa and many other celebrities.

Last year saw the first contestant of Love Island to refuse to wear fast fashion on the show. Brett Staniland spoke to Eco-Age regarding the show’s switch to a more sustainable sponsor. Staniland decided to take all of his own clothes into the villa and even support some British brands whilst doing so. His decision to use pre-loved fashion may have even influenced Love Island to part ways with fast fashion sponsors. This season will be the first that has encouraged its contestants to bring a suitcase of home clothes.

The Love Island contestants have the power to influence viewers to purchase the outfits they are wearing with the click of a finger. Companies like PrettyLittleThing have edits where you can shop for the clothes every Islander is wearing. As there is so much clothing and many new items worn, viewers start to think ‘once I have worn it or posted a photo with it then I can’t wear it again’. For the show to embrace its contestants wearing previously worn clothing this will have the potential to change the buying culture of the next generation. The transition to second-hand fashion is in line with the demographic of the show, 16-34 year olds. Coincidently, this age range is consistent with those who shop second-hand clothing on eBay the most.

There is still a stigma relating to buying second-hand clothing. When you see everyone else wearing new clothes all the time, you start to build the perception that perhaps wearing second-hand clothing is less desirable. This season of Love Island has the opportunity to showcase the Islanders wearing second hand looks to inspire viewers that it is ‘cool’ and ‘unique’ to wear an outfit that has had a previous home.

However, at a press event on Tuesday 31 May, Amy Bannerman revealed a shocking twist as to what viewers expected of ‘second hand’ clothing. To much surprise Bannerman revealed that the season 8 contestants will showcase not only vintage high-street but high-end vintage as well. Ina bid to deter the female contestants from the repetitive colourful tight dresses Bannerman aims to ‘blur the lines of gendered dressing’ by creating a wardrobe that can be appreciated by both the male and female contestants. She says that the goal of this season is for the Islanders to re-wear the same Balmain dress or Ralph Lauren shirt throughout the show to demonstrate how different body types and genders can style the same piece.

The mix of vintage high-street and high-end may be a good move for the show in terms of sustainability; however, this new turn may give viewers an unrealistic view on what they can afford if they were to shop on eBay. Bannerman goes on to discuss how the shared wardrobe will contain Keen Outlet designer brands like Gucci, Versace, Moschino, Jacquemus and Dior. When the new sponsor was revealed, understandably, viewers may not have expected to see these brands. Those who shop used fashion may not see these pieces as something they can afford and may feel that attempting to mirror these styles on the show is unattainable. On the other hand, having the Islanders wear a mix of both new and preloved items will showcase to the viewers a sense of normality as many of us in the real world do this.

Another aim of the show is to encourage the concept of borrowing due to the shared wardrobe on the show. Over the past few years, there has been an increase in people using fashion rental services such as HURR and Byrotation, with many having been endorsed by celebrities and influencers. One piece in particular which will be a hit among the Love Island contestants and the viewers at home is anticipated to be a recreation of the iconic Julien MacDonald dress that Paris Hilton wore on her 21st birthday. Bannerman says that she will only be sending one of these dresses into the house to encourage the contestants to borrow and share items. The aim is foreach contestant to showcase how they would style each piece to fit their own style.

Due to the popular show heading in a new direction, it will be interesting to see how the approach to a shared and preloved wardrobe will turn out. It can only be assumed that fast fashion brands will still target the contestants for brand deals when the show ends, however it will be interesting to see if any of the Islanders decide to steer away from these options and decide to channel a new approach that represents what the world of fashion is changing into.

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