Will fast fashion ever slow down?

Love Island swaps fast-fashion sponsors for eBay amid concerns about environmental impact of clothes waste

Clothes rails of fast fashion garments
(Image credit: Sundry Photography / Alamy Stock Photo)

ITV’s Love Island is looking slightly different after returning to our screens for another summer of coupling up, breaking up and contestant challenges in the Mallorca villa.

Until now, the hit reality show has had a clear “type” when it comes to sponsors, opting for a range of fast-fashion brands, said Metro. But for season eight, contestants are being dressed in second-hand clothes, under a new sponsorship deal with eBay.

“As far as the world of sustainable fashion is concerned, this could be the biggest power couple to date,” according to the newspaper.

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Around three millions viewers tuned in to watch each episode of season seven last summer. And during the eight-week run, online fashion sales “grew by more than a tenth”, reported industry news site InternetRetailing.

But with the focus now shifting to second-hand fashion, the sponsorship switch could have a significant impact on viewers’ shopping habits.

“Even if you don’t watch Love Island, this is a moment,” said The Guardian’s First Edition newsletter editor Archie Bland. If the switch “has any impact on the Love Island audience’s appetite for the low-pay, high-environmental-cost model” favoured by fast-fashion brands, it could be “an important one”.

More than 200 contestants have appeared on the show since it began in 2015, but Brett Staniland “was the first to reject its offer of free clothes” from the sponsors, said Vogue Business. The model and sustainable fashion advocate entered the villa last year “to challenge its relationship with fast fashion”.

In this episode of The Week’s podcast The Overview, Staniland explains why he thinks the eBay sponsorship deal may represent a moment of real change for the fashion industry.

So how did fashion get so fast in the first place, what are the consequences – and what next?

Find out with The Overview and guest experts Clare Press, presenter of The Wardrobe Crisis podcast and author of a book of the same name, and Aja Barber, author of Consumed: The Need for Collective Change: Colonialism, Climate Change and Consumerism.

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