In a move from its previous partnerships with fast fashion brands, Love Island has decided to dress 2022 UK contestants in second-hand clothes. This decision forms part of ITV’s partnership with eBay and comes on the back of previous criticism from sustainability campaigners regarding its promotion of fast fashion retail. Love Island has become synonymous with fashion trends in recent years, with contestants debuting several outfits in a single episode. This has led to sponsorship from fast fashion brands including Missguided and I Saw It First. Executive producer Mike Spencer has described the move to preloved clothing as the show striving to “be a more eco-friendly production”.
Greenpeace has described how the UK sees more clothes purchases per person than any other country in Europe. The UK’s love of affordable fashion has seen a proliferation of fast fashion brands, with retailers including Boohoo, I Saw It First, Missguided, Primark and many more flooding the market. This has led to a growing strain on the environment. However, the impact that fast fashion has on the environment has been well documented and publicized in recent years. As such, we are seeing the rise of a more responsible consumer in the UK, with demands increasingly being placed on retailers and apparel manufacturers to operate in a more sustainable way. The rise of a more responsible consumer is reflected in MarketLine data, which shows that the green fashion market in the UK grew with a compound annual growth rate of 11.5% for the 2016-21 period.
The shift towards sustainability that is currently being seen in the UK will continue to grow. Love Island’s decision to abandon fast fashion in favor of second-hand clothing will only aid this shift further. Viewing figures for the UK show can reach up to three million and the influence it has on consumer purchases is evident. In 2019, I Saw It First saw a 67% surge in sales and a 254% growth in Instagram followers on the back of the show. Furthermore, when one of the brand’s dresses were worn by contestant Molly-Mae Hague, it sold out in 10 minutes. Consumers seeing Love Island contestants in preloved clothes will help to remove any remaining stigma surrounding second-hand items.
Despite encouraging consumers to consider preloved items, the show will continue to play a part in promoting consumerism and fast fashion as it spits out yet more influencers. An overwhelming majority of Love Island contestants go on to become social media influencers for fast fashion brands. As such, despite Love Island’s move towards becoming more sustainable, the show will always be heavily involved in the promotion of fast fashion through its past and present contestants.