Love Island’s new eBay partnership is in contrast to its previous pairings with fast fashion retailers such as I Saw It First and Missguided, however it is said to support the growing shift towards buying secondhand.

eBay explains the collaboration comes after it produced new research and data that shows a fifth (20%) of Brits admit to buying more second-hand fashion items compared to two years ago. The data also indicates that Love Island’s core audience of 18 to 34 year-olds have the highest average percentage of second-hand clothes in their wardrobe (22%), nearly double that of over 55s (12%).

While, a report published this week by data research company GlobalData and online resale platform ThredUP suggests the US secondhand market could double by 2026.

In previous series the contestants wore the latest clothes from the official partner to encourage sales. Plus, many of the contestants landed fast fashion ambassador deals once the show ended, such as Molly-Mae Hague becoming the UK and EU creative director of PrettyLittleThing.

This year’s resale fashion partnership will see the ‘Islanders’ wearing pre-loved eBay clothes that will be picked out from a shared wardrobe.

Love Island has a strong influence on fashion choices

GlobalData’s apparel analyst Pippa Stephens tells Just Style exclusively the decision by Love Island’s producers is an interesting one since the show usually has such a strong influence on young consumers’ style and shopping choices.

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She says: “Previous series of the show have significantly boosted awareness of its partner brands’ fashion offerings; however, this has often been criticised, due to the negative environmental and ethical impacts of these fast fashion players”

Former Series 7 Love Island contestant and sustainable fashion contributor Brett Staniland goes one step further and says he sees the move as a sign that fast fashion is giving way to the secondhand market, which he believes will grow and overtake it.

He explains: “Love island as a show always needs to be relevant and ahead of the curve. With so many dating shows out now they’ve really pushed through a lot of changes for the coming series and this is one of them that sets them apart from the rest. Hopefully they listened to some conversations and have paid attention to the fashion and younger community.”

Stephens makes the point that young consumers are already the most invested in resale.

She states that 37.3% of under 35s have purchased resale clothing, footwear and/or accessories in 2021, according to GlobalData’s monthly survey conducted in January 2022. She adds that this will have taken some spend away from other apparel players, due to a combination of environmental concerns, desire to save money, and the ability to find more interesting and unique items.

However, she notes: “This partnership is likely to boost this even further, as it will bring resale to the forefront of consumers’ minds and make them realise the vast selection of products available.”

Stephens does highlight the fact that a large proportion of retailers’ sales opportunities come after the show ends, with many fast fashion players securing contestants for endorsement deals.

She says: “This is still likely to continue, so these brands won’t lose out completely, with these collaborations often allowing retailers to acquire new customers, drive engagement and stay top of mind among young consumers.”

Changing attitudes for the long-term

Staniland, on the other hand is confident the partnership indicates that attitudes towards fast fashion versus resale are changing for the long-term.

He says: “Obviously the cost of living has gone up and so people look for other options to save money. The climate crisis is undeniable now and so we can’t ignore the impact of fast fashion and it’s exploitative practices.”

He adds: “I think now the stigma is changing and people are seeing that secondhand clothes are clean and cool and still very wearable and tell their own story.”

He explains, however the fashion industry is only at the start of its journey towards becoming more sustainable, by stating: “We need to get to full transparency in supply chains so we know exactly what is going on. We need strict legislation and punishments for those who don’t comply. We need to amplify the voices of textile workers who are at the heart of fashion.”

Staniland is adamant that these stories are important and consumers want to hear them, and concludes: “The new generation of shoppers what to know where their clothes are made, who by and whether they were paid a living wage.