Love Island is over for another year, but it’s not just the antics of the couples that have had the nation talking. The much-praised partnership with eBay, to replace previous fast fashion brands such as Missguided, has brought secondhand to the fore. Natalie Salmon reported in Hello magazine that eBay has seen a 700% increase in searches for ‘preloved fashion’, google searches for ‘preloved’ went up by 660% on the previous month and there were an incredible 935% more mentions of ‘pre-loved fashion’ across online platforms than the same time last year! So have our heads been turned by preloved and will shoppers ever be fully closed-off to fast fashion? Our student intern Sophie Williams writes about the importance of shopping secondhand…

It came as a surprise to many when Love Island announced its partnership with eBay. Kitted out by celebrity stylist Amy Bannerman, this year’s islanders will have access to a shared wardrobe full of specially selected pre-loved items. Bannerman hopes that a shared wardrobe will mean viewers see pieces being restyled by different contestants; encouraging people to have more of a fun, open-minded, and genderless approach to fashion. Refusing to see clothes as disposable items, this year’s stylist wanted to showcase the individuality and personality of vintage pieces – promoting a circular fashion economy and the upcycling of retro fabrics. This mentality of fun recycled fashion is slowly changing the perception of charity shopping, with many now seeing it as an exciting afternoon activity experimenting with different styles. Bannerman has been an avid second-hand shopper for years and is determined to prove that buying second-hand does not mean compromising on style or quality.

I was particularly excited to see bombshell, Ekin-Su, turning heads in the villa in a beautiful second-hand corset – helping to show the younger generation that they can still keep on-trend and feel confident wearing second-hand clothing. This year’s series finally enables students and young people to recreate the Love Island looks and find their style on an ever-tightening budget. This brand partnership is evidence of a huge cultural shift amongst the younger generation. More eco-conscious than ever, young people are looking for sustainable alternatives.

In a focus group I ran recently on behalf of The Charity Shop Gift Card, there was a clear consensus that for our generation it’s not a choice, but a necessity. For them, sustainability means ensuring future generations have the same possibilities and opportunities.

Hearing from students over the last month, many have made drastic changes to their lifestyle to reduce their environmental impact, a popular switch being shopping second-hand and lowering their consumption of fast fashion retailers. The Love Island x eBay Collab is testimony to this drastic shift in social attitudes. Even this year’s Met Gala, one of the most anticipated pop-culture events of the year, saw the likes of Camilla Cabello, Shawn Mendes, and Billie Eilish styled in pre-loved gear, with the latter preaching to her mass following the importance of being as ‘eco-friendly as possible.’ We still have a long way to go, but at a time when the costs of living are skyrocketing and the environmental crisis is at the forefront of the social consciousness, the world of sustainable, preloved fashion has never been more culturally prevalent.

Written By Sophie Williams