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Is Love Island To Blame For The Rise And Impending Fall Of Fast Fashion?

Love Island is set to grace our screens for the next six weeks, and for the first time ever, islanders will be wearing pre-loved clothing with eBay as its official partner, ‘dumping’ former fashion sponsor of several years, I Saw It First.

This news came as global fashion giant Missguided announced its administration plans, which led us to question – can a reality dating show be to blame for the rise and subsequent fall of the fast-fashion empire?

Adopting A New Approach

This year, Love Island is adopting a more sustainable approach when it comes to dressing its islanders. The show has teamed up with eBay, alongside vintage stores, and charity shops to showcase what preloved items you can find online. This came as a great surprise at first, especially seeing as previous series of the show have been sponsored by fast fashion brands including Boohoo, Pretty Little Thing and most recently, I Saw It First. Islanders could be seen in the brand’s clothing, which people at home could purchase for as little as £5 (and they did!).

Love Island’s Influence On Buying Habits

Love Island is undoubtedly a pioneer within the fast fashion industry. With an 11% rise in clothing sales observed whilst the show ran last summer, it has a massive influence on what young people buy and where they buy from. On social media, it’s widely known that young people follow the show’s participants and other reality stars, which influences their dress choices. Following their appearances on television, these celebrities frequently remain in the public spotlight, using their platforms to promote fashion businesses. Ex islander Molly-Mae made a name for herself and the brand Pretty Little Thing (PLT) when she became Creative Director of the company in 2022. Her following has risen exponentially since her appearance on the show, which in turn contributes to the millions of sales from her collaboration with PLT.

The fall Of Fast Fashion

More recently, however, the show has been criticised for encouraging fast fashion, coming to a boil when in 2019, Missguided advertised a £1 bikini during an ad break for Love Island, with former contestants modelling the said item of clothing.  This no doubt cemented the link between extreme fast fashion and reality television, which it had been accused of promoting for years. Despite its widely publicised environmental consequences, the industry continues to thrive. Public consciousness has struggled to compete with the low-cost and quick turnaround benefits of mass production.

It’s Cool To Be Sustainable 🌎

Gen Z has long been considered ‘woke’ when it comes to issues that concern the environment today. In a recent study it was seen that this generation is more likely to buy sustainable, high-quality, products. 73% of Generation Z consumers are willing to pay 10% more for sustainable products, in fact! In terms of ‘second hand’ and ‘preloved’ clothing apps we’ve already seen a jump in second-hand clothing sites like Depop and Vinted, buying vintage and thrifted clothing is seen as ‘cool’ amongst young people nowadays. As the islanders grace our screens tonight for the first time this year, will this notion only be cemented as thrifting and re-selling become cemented as ‘trendy’?

Saying Goodbye To Fast Fashion?

Public and viewer buying habits are very much influenced by the people they see on TV, but will we see a decline in sales from fast fashion brands and a rise in second-hand buying?

Of course, only time can tell.

But what we can say, is we hope to see a shift in the fashion industry when it comes to sustainability, many brands like John Lewis and Selfridges have already opted into second-hand shopping services for customers to combat clothing waste. With the new move from love Island, it’s expected that many brands will hopefully follow suit including fast fashion industries.