Love Island has coupled up with eBay for a second time to encourage people to shop pre-loved. A win for sustainability, but has there been a real change?
In short, yes. There has been a 1,600% increase in searches for “pre-loved clothes” since eBay first partnered with the ITV reality show in 2022. In January The Drum reported ITV research found 53% of the show’s viewers who were familiar with its eBay partnership had purchased a pre-loved item in the past three months – more than double the amount for those who were unaware of the deal or didn’t watch the reality show.
When the second-hand marketplace was unveiled as the programme’s sponsor, it signalled a wider shift in the industry. People are increasingly interested in sustainable fashion and, by working with Love Island, eBay is able to reach millions of viewers. Specifically, they’re able to reach the crucial Gen Z audience.
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Love Island had previously been tied to fast fashion brands such as I Saw It First and Missguided. Making the switch to working with a pre-loved company was a positive move for the industry. Popular contestants often get five-to-six-figure brand deals from fast fashion brands after exiting the villa, but there was a slight shift last summer.
Although contestant Gemma Owen picked up a PrettyLittleThing deal and winner Ekin-Su Cülcüloğlu signed with Oh Polly, arguably the two most stylish contestants in the villa went down the more sustainable route. Tasha Ghouri became eBay’s first pre-loved ambassador and Indiyah Polack was named as the face of PrettyLittleThing’s re-sale platform PLT Marketplace.
Consumers don’t want contestants to bag a fast fashion deal. In 2022, Owen was criticised for aligning with PrettyLittleThing following her stint in the villa. Fans of the show want to see these people use their fame – which the viewers have built – to make a positive change and that includes making strides towards promoting sustainable fashion post-Love Island. Something to note: although eBay sponsors Love Island, contestants last year still sported clothes from fast fashion brands.
For the current winter season, eBay is ramping up its presence – you’ll often hear the Islanders not-so-casually mention “eBay” when discussing their outfits – and it has shared the trends to watch in the villa. Not to mention, this season features clothing and accessories from its Imperfects range, which is new but damaged clothing and shoes from 100 retailers.
For dedicated fans who have an eagle eye, it’s become apparent the current Islanders are also re-wearing some of the eBay clothes from the summer 2022 season. Olivia Hawkins repurposed Ghouri’s yellow outfit and Tanyel Raven sported a onesie that Ghouri had also worn. Reduce, reuse, recycle.
While eBay’s ongoing work with Love Island is a big step in reducing throwaway fashion culture, it’s still just the beginning.
By Caroline Edwards, CORQ news and features writer.