Love Island Dumps Fast Fashion

Anna Boyne

Fast fashion and Love Island have long gone hand in hand. However, the hit reality TV show’s decision to partner with eBay for its latest series has been widely celebrated by sustainability advocates.

Just before the start of its eighth series, Love Island announced that it would be collaborating with eBay. Amy Bannerman, this year’s curator, was tasked with styling the islanders in pre-loved clothes. This is a huge shift away from its previous partnerships with fast fashion labels; I Saw It First have supplied the contestants’ wardrobes for the past three years.

“These small changes can make a big difference to driving circularity.”

Eve Williams, chief marketing officer at eBay UK, says “we believe that by joining forces with this incredibly influential programme, we’ll inspire the nation to think differently and make more conscious choices when it comes to their wardrobes. Whether that is selling a dress that is sitting at the back of their wardrobe or shopping for their favourite islanders’ second-hand looks- these small changes can make a big difference to driving circularity.”

Islanders were encouraged to bring their favourite clothes from home. A shared wardrobe is also a new feature of this series.

“We aim to inspire our demographic and show that there are incredible finds to be had and how sharing is, in some small way, caring,” claims Love Island’s executive producer, Mark Spencer.

The official Love Island app allows viewers to explore eBay’s pre-loved fashion. Viewers can also purchase similar outfits to those worn by the islanders.

Sustainability advocates have long denounced the show

Islanders have notoriously bagged huge brand deals upon their departure from the villa. Many have even lasted much longer than couples’ relationships. Molly-Mae Hague, runner-up of the show’s fifth series, signed a £500,000 deal with Pretty Little Thing in 2019. She then went on to become the brand’s creative director.

Brett Staniland pioneered a more sustainable approach to style during his time on the show in 2021. He was the first islander to take a stand against fast fashion. Staniland refused to wear any of the clothes offered to him by the show and wore only the clothes he’d brought from home. He also made a conscious effort to champion British brands.

Sustainability advocates have long denounced the show for encouraging a harmful throwaway culture. In June 2019 controversy peaked when Missguided advertised a £1 bikini during a break for Love Island, using former contestants as models.

In recent years, there has been a growing awareness of the environmental, social and economic impacts of fast fashion. The fashion industry is the second-largest industrial polluter. It is responsible for releasing 1.2 billion tonnes of carbon emissions every year.

Greenwashing is another major issue in the fast fashion industry. The report by Changing Markets Foundation found that 59% of claims to sustainability on products by UK and European fashion companies are unsubstantiated and misleading consumers.

Will they follow previous contestants and partner with major fast fashion brands?

Questions have been raised about the longevity of Love Island’s new approach to sustainability. Although the contestants are currently showcasing pre-loved wardrobes, will they follow previous contestants and partner with major fast fashion brands when they leave the villa?

2022 contestant Gemma Owen already owns a beachwear company, OG beachwear. While the company doesn’t promote itself as sustainable some products are, for example the Monaco bikinis are made using 78% recycled polyamide and 22% elastane. Other pieces, however, have been made using non-recycled materials such as nylon and spandex.

With audience figures reaching the millions, Love Island has a wide-ranging and significant influence on its audience. The show’s partnership with eBay is certainly a step in the right direction.

Anna Boyne

Featured image courtesy of Khadeeja Yasser via Unsplash. Image license found here. No changes were made to this image.

In-article image courtesy of @amybannermanstylist via No changes were made to this image.

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