Love Island Champions a Sustainable Future

It’s June, which means that most of us have the familiar jingle of the Love Island theme tune playing
on a loop in our heads. Toned bodies, exclamations of ‘got a text!’ and awkward firepit convos
abound! But this year, something is different. Instead of the standard violently neon, probably highly
flammable clothes made in factories where workers make £3.50 per hour, this year’s islanders are
donning second-hand fits thanks to Ebay.

When the change was announced back in May, I was intrigued. We watch Love Island in the same
way we eat a whole tub of Ben and Jerry’s – we know it isn’t particularly nutritious or edifying, but
we consume it anyway because it’s fun. I care deeply about the planet and people but take it as a
given that reality TV shows don’t have their carbon footprints, or workers’ rights, at the forefront of
their minds. It is therefore a huge step for a show as big as Love Island to make such a decisive
change, especially at a time when fast fashion sales are booming.

One of the main pillars of the show is the partnerships with online giants like Boohoo and PLT, who
inevitably go on to offer particular talent clothing lines and deals after they’ve left the villa (for
example, Millie Court’s recent ASOS line, Olivia Bowen’s collections with ISawItFirst, and Dani Dyer’s
In The Style range). Many have theorised, perhaps astutely, that people no longer go on Love Island
to find ‘love’ or for fun, but to further their influencer careers through brand partnerships. The
pipeline is potentially now less direct as the show has severed its ties with fast-fashion, so it’ll be
interesting to see the effect this has, if any.

Furthermore, promotion of a sustainable lifestyle is a big statement to make. In a world where so
many people take inspiration for their sartorial choices from influencers and people on shows like
Love Island, endorsing second-hand shopping is very significant. I’m not saying that every Shein girlie
is going to immediately transition into an eco-warrior overnight, but it will no longer be as easy to be
influenced to buy fast-fashion – brands can no longer directly identify and advertise outfits Islanders
have worn with hyperlinks to their site, meaning people are at less risk of buying £3 bikinis without a
second thought at just the touch of a button. Plus, if people see that there are clothes in the second-
hand market that make people look sexy, whether they’re lounging by a pool or having gunge
thrown on them in a challenge, they may feel more inclined to seek out second-hand options
themselves. In the past, charity shops were seen as a deeply unchic place to shop, but the last few
years have brought a new appreciation of these spaces, plus Depop and Vinted, as previously
outdated fashions have rolled back round. Love Island publicly endorsing these practices is likely to
influence people to thin before they log on to Boohoo again.

However, it is important to note that there is far more the TV giant can be doing. People online have
noted that there are entire walls of single-use plastic bottles for the Islanders to use – why not swap
these out for refillable options from zero-waste shops? It’s great that the Islanders all drink from
reusable bottles and coffee cups, but the lighting must rack up a whole lot of energy – can this be
examined? There is always more to be done in the fight for our planet, but Love Island has taken a
great first step. Hopefully it’ll lead to huge changes in the influencing sphere too.

– Caitlin Barr

Featured Image Source: Via Pexels

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