02/10/2020

I’ve decided to give up fast fashion for 2020. That means no popping into M&S for pants. No rummaging through Primark for socks. And certainly no scrambling through Topshop for a last-minute party dress​, writes Olivia Petter

I despair when I watch Love Island. Its not just because the contestants look the same each year, or because their conversations are dull as dishwater. Its about what they wear. 
Every year, the same cohort of aspiring Instagram influencers bounds into that sun-soaked villa claiming to be looking for love when in fact, the only thing theyre looking for is a contract with Boohoo. Or Missguided. Or Nasty Gal. Or any other fast fashion brand that will pay them oodles of money to wear their clothes and sit in on a design meeting or two. 
Since the ITV2 programme started in its current iteration, its contestants have gone on to land six-figure deals with fast fashion labels. Last season alone, female stars including Molly-Mae Hague, Maura Higgins and Amber Gill all landed up lucrative partnerships with Pretty Little Thing, Boohoo and MissPap, respectively Gills is rumoured to be worth £1m. The men fared well too  Ovie Soko got a deal with ASOS while Tommy Fury was snapped up by Boohoo Man. They follow in the footsteps of former contestants like Kem Cetinay, Amber Davies and Olivia Buckland, who have also gone on to partner with fast fashion brands since leaving the show.
Download the new Independent Premium app
Sharing the full story, not just the headlines
Download now
left
Created with Sketch.
right
Created with Sketch.
1/11 Shaughna Philliips, 25
Shaugna is a democratic services officer from London. She describes herself as “chatty, fun and clever”, adding: “When they hear me speak about certain things they’ll be shocked. I like to get on with everyone, too.” Her celebrity crush is Jack Fincham while her ideal man is “tall, dark and handsome”.
2/11 Sophie Piper, 21
Medical PA Sophie hails from Essex and is excited to spend some time in the villa. Her celebrity crush is Anthony Joshua, she describes herself as “kind, fun and energetic”.
3/11 Leanne Amaning, 22
Leanne is a customer service advisor from London. She describes herself as “fun” and is looking for love, but thinks she’ll need to learn to be more open while in the villa. Her celebrity crush is Gerard Butler.
4/11 Eve and Jess Gale, 20
Eve and Jess are twins currently studying and working as VIP hostesses in London. Both say they’re confident and easy-going, and both pick Anthony Joshua as their celebrity crush.
5/11 Paige Turley, 22
Singer Paige comes from West Lothian and is a “natural flirt”. She comes from a small village where everyone knows everyone, so is looking for someone with “a different mentality”. Her celebrity crush is Tom Hardy.
6/11 Siânnise Fudge, 25
Siânnise is a beauty consultant from Bristol who has “quite a lot” of experience with men, and so knows what she’s on the look-out for. She describes herself as “sassy and fun”, and her celebrity crush is Anthony Joshua or Nineties Leonardo DiCaprio.
7/11 Connor Durman, 25
Coffee bean salesman Conor comes from Brighton but has been living in Australia for the past four years. He’s had two big relationships, “one good, one bad”. His celebrity crush is Maya Jama.
8/11 Mike Boateng, 24
Police officer Mike thinks his charming nature will attract attention in the villa. His mum is hoping he’ll meet someone and move out of her house. Celebrity crush? Beyonce and Rihanna.
9/11 Callum Jones, 23
Callum is a scaffolder from Manchester who claims to have “builders’ banter” whatever that is. He’s “a cheeky chap” but down-to-earth as well. His celebrity crush is Megan Fox.
10/11 Nas Majeed, 23
Sports science graduate and builder Nas claims to be different to the guys who have been on the show before. He describes himself as “funny, caring and considerate a well-rounded person”. His celebrity crush is Aladdin star Naomi Scott.
11/11 Ollie Williams, 23
Ollie is an estate owner and heir to the Lanhydrock estate in Cornwall. He claims to be an “alpha male” but expects to be “the butt of all jokes”. He’s a self-confessed attention-seeker who wears his emotions on his sleeve. His celebrity crush is Lily James.
1/11 Shaughna Philliips, 25
Shaugna is a democratic services officer from London. She describes herself as “chatty, fun and clever”, adding: “When they hear me speak about certain things they’ll be shocked. I like to get on with everyone, too.” Her celebrity crush is Jack Fincham while her ideal man is “tall, dark and handsome”.
2/11 Sophie Piper, 21
Medical PA Sophie hails from Essex and is excited to spend some time in the villa. Her celebrity crush is Anthony Joshua, she describes herself as “kind, fun and energetic”.
3/11 Leanne Amaning, 22
Leanne is a customer service advisor from London. She describes herself as “fun” and is looking for love, but thinks she’ll need to learn to be more open while in the villa. Her celebrity crush is Gerard Butler.
4/11 Eve and Jess Gale, 20
Eve and Jess are twins currently studying and working as VIP hostesses in London. Both say they’re confident and easy-going, and both pick Anthony Joshua as their celebrity crush.
5/11 Paige Turley, 22
Singer Paige comes from West Lothian and is a “natural flirt”. She comes from a small village where everyone knows everyone, so is looking for someone with “a different mentality”. Her celebrity crush is Tom Hardy.
6/11 Siânnise Fudge, 25
Siânnise is a beauty consultant from Bristol who has “quite a lot” of experience with men, and so knows what she’s on the look-out for. She describes herself as “sassy and fun”, and her celebrity crush is Anthony Joshua or Nineties Leonardo DiCaprio.
7/11 Connor Durman, 25
Coffee bean salesman Conor comes from Brighton but has been living in Australia for the past four years. He’s had two big relationships, “one good, one bad”. His celebrity crush is Maya Jama.
8/11 Mike Boateng, 24
Police officer Mike thinks his charming nature will attract attention in the villa. His mum is hoping he’ll meet someone and move out of her house. Celebrity crush? Beyonce and Rihanna.
9/11 Callum Jones, 23
Callum is a scaffolder from Manchester who claims to have “builders’ banter” whatever that is. He’s “a cheeky chap” but down-to-earth as well. His celebrity crush is Megan Fox.
10/11 Nas Majeed, 23
Sports science graduate and builder Nas claims to be different to the guys who have been on the show before. He describes himself as “funny, caring and considerate a well-rounded person”. His celebrity crush is Aladdin star Naomi Scott.
11/11 Ollie Williams, 23
Ollie is an estate owner and heir to the Lanhydrock estate in Cornwall. He claims to be an “alpha male” but expects to be “the butt of all jokes”. He’s a self-confessed attention-seeker who wears his emotions on his sleeve. His celebrity crush is Lily James.
Meanwhile, the show has been sponsored by fast fashion brands (Missguided and then I Saw it First) for the last three years, giving viewers the opportunity to shop the female Islanders looks directly. Personally, Ive always thought that Love Island contestants dress terribly: its Benidorm beaches meets Kardashian kitsch. But with prices starting at £5, the clothes are devastatingly cheap. Far cheaper than the designer garb we see on most TV stars. So I can understand the appeal. But I also know that every time someone buys one of those bikinis, or sparkly bodycon dresses, theyre adding fuel to fast fashions ever-blazing fire.
But perhaps the onus is not on the consumer, or even the Love Island star. Lauren Bravo, author of How to Break Up with Fast Fashion, explains that the brands are the ones who should really be shouldering responsibility here. These days were so used to instant gratification, and the idea that anyone can aspire to celebrity, that it seems reasonable for TV stars to sell us clothes and vice versa, she tells me. And its really hard, because I know what its like to love fashion and crave the clothes youre seeing on people you admire, not to mention the huge social pressures on young people to keep that endless parade of new looks rolling over on their Instagram grid, so telling people who cant necessarily afford to spend any more that their shopping habits are destroying the planet can feel snobbish and unfair.
Read more
But, Bravo adds, the fact remains that those clothes simply cannot be made as cheaply as theyre sold. Somewhere down the line, someone is paying the price, whether its a garment worker barely surviving on poverty wages or a community grappling with industrial pollution.
Thats not to say you cant get the Islander look in a sustainable and eco-friendly way. Bravo suggests heading to secondhand shopping apps, like Depop, where youll find plenty of pre-loved items not dissimilar from the ones you see on the show. Some of them will be from fast fashion brands, but if youre buying it there, youre keeping that item in circulation as opposed to letting it wind up in landfill. 
Or, you could take a closer look at some of the trends championed by Love Islanders, both past and present, and see that many (cycling shorts, mesh, high-waisted jeans and leopard print) hark back to another era, like, say, the 1990s. And what better way to shop Nineties fashion than by heading to your local Beyond Retro or Rokit, which will be jam-packed with original clothing from the decade that is not only more sustainable, but a hell of a lot cooler, too.
How to Break Up with Fast Fashion by Lauren Bravo (£12.99, Headline Home) is out now