Now that Love Island has binned fast fashion, it finally has my attention

‘There’s a Love Island water bottle?’ I scoffed to my friends in 2015, followed by countless expletives back when the fabled reality dating show first hit our screens.

Truthfully, I’ve never watched Love Island – yes, I know the look of horror you’ve got on your face all too well. 

The unfathomable thought that I didn’t understand why everyone was screaming ‘I’ve got a text!’ (when I only seemed to receive text messages from my GP about my smear test) is overwhelming, I know.

Except, when Love Island hits our screens on Monday at 9pm on ITV – this year, I’ll be watching it. Not because I suddenly want to see slim cis-people having sex onscreen, but because the show has finally ditched its fast fashion sponsors.

This year, the series has partnered with second-hand fashion giant eBay, instead. For its eighth series, the show’s bosses said it was working towards being ‘a more eco-friendly production’.

Love Island embodied everything I hated about the fashion industry. So-called influencers modelling for brands rumoured to have human rights violations; wearing items made from synthetic fibres sourced in 1p sales once before chucking them out, then buying another hashed up version of what was on catwalks last week.

In January last year, I felt so strongly about fast fashion and quick-fix online shopping that I decided to dump Amazon – and this July, I’ll have been a year free from ASOS, too.

I haven’t shopped at either since I realised that I was simply being lazy for shopping on these fast-fashion sites.

I discovered that Jeff Bezos earned more than the average Amazon worker’s weekly salary in one second – with allegations of Amazon factory workers working like ‘slaves’ and ‘robots’ having been trickling in for years, alongside poor working conditions, and a worrying disregard for Covid-19 regulations.

With ASOS, well, the reality of fast fashion and its impact on the earth has never been more obvious. 

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The popular online fashion destination has revealed that their operational emissions are at 232,503 tonnes of CO2 a year. It relies on fast turnarounds to its 24.9million annual customers, flash sales and cheap fibres. 

A recent report found that 89% of ASOS’ sustainable claims were cases of ‘greenwashing’ – yet, the brand hopes to be net zero carbon emissions by 2030 – something I’ll watch with bated breath.

Back when I used ASOS, I was click-happy and reliant on last-minute, poor quality items at the cost to the planet, as I’d often only wear outfits once or twice before they became damaged or I fell out of love with them. 

I was contributing to the terrifying stats that half a million tonnes of synthetic microfibers were discarded into the ocean annually just by washing clothes alone, with reports that there’s an estimated 92million tonnes of textile waste each year – that’s 85% of all textiles in the US.

The industry is the world’s second biggest consumer of water, too – and responsible for up to 10% of global carbon emissions, apparently more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined, according to the UN.

So I broke up with fast fashion. For good.

Now, I buy most of my clothes secondhand, and both buy and sell on eBay – I would estimate that I’ve probably made around £1,000 selling my clothes on the site in recent years.

I have never shopped at Boohoo, Missguided, Shein or PrettyLittleThing, and I choose to only source my clothing from charity shops, eBay, or trusted sources with a history of sustainability. 

There’s no denying that Love Island morphed into a climate-eating, landfill-clogging monster by promoting fast fashion purchases, with sponsors such as Missguided and I Saw It First on ad breaks and contestant’s bodies.

The brands have since claimed that contestant’s outfits sold out in minutes after appearing on the show. I wonder how many of its buyers have chucked those outfits out since?

Love Island partnering with eBay is a huge open-toed sandaled step in the right direction.

Though eBay can feel like a jumble sale at times, its Love Island romance is helping raise awareness of the importance and accessibility of secondhand clothes. It makes them clothes look cool, and on-trend – a far cry from the days of foisty charity shops that only OAPs shopped in.

Well Love Island, you’re finally my type on paper – recycled and sustainably-sourced, of course.

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