Love Island - Time to Endorse Ethical Brands?
On this morning's edition of Wake Up to Money, BBC Radio 5, I heard Jade Evans, Senior Account Manager for Media Agency Group interviewed about the commercial phenomena that is Love Island. Jade worked on the deal that secured online fashion retailer I Saw it First with a catwalk of contestants which in turn saw ISIF profits rise two thirds since it's showcase on the Island.
There's no doubt about the popularity of Love Island and the financial gains being made not only by ITV who commission it but the multitude of businesses who's products are endorsed by the show. With a core audience of 16-34, Ms Evans says.
"The show is getting bigger and branching out into a new audience". The coverage Love Island receives via the screen and various social media platforms throughout it's 8 week run is unprecedented. She goes on to say the programme is aspirational with viewers saying, "I want to wear that clothing. I want to look like the girls on the show"
Although this may be correct, is it a statement we should be applauding? Does this not demonstrate a chasmic ignorance of what the general populace is talking about. On sites like Twitter and Instagram, topics such as body shaming and fast fashion are regularly trending. When Ms Evans states,
"You cannot not watch Love Island. Everyone is talking about it". It's not all in a good way. As it was pointed out on this mornings Wake up to Money, surely Love Island is also a risk for sponsors? It's not short of controversy after all.
It's obvious not all clothes conscious consumers are shunning such fashion frippery, ditching the £1 bikini in favour of sustainable swimwear and digging out last years holiday hotpants rather than spending a tenner on ten more. However, with profits up by 2/3, I Saw it First are adding their collection of fast fashion to the prospective landfill pile at an alarming rate.
The most popular item for 2019 was worn by Islander Molly-Mae, 11,000 people searched for her £19.99 bikini from ISIF after episode 7 of the show. Glossy mag Cosmopolitan have followed the programme eagerly and in a July edition feature wrote;
"There's been ample inspo beyond bikinis. Every night when the contestants gather around the firepit, we're loving the flared co-ords, embellished playsuits and milkmaid dresses. Oh and Molly-Mae Hague's insane hair extensions are giving us life."
The July issue of Cosmo does also have a cover feature "Deep Inside Sex Island, The Gen Z Resort Ignoring #MeToo" so I can't really brand them complete hypocrites.
Interestingly, a visit to I Saw it First revealed a Recycling option in their menu. They have teamed up with the circular fashion endorsing App, ReGain which encourages you to donate your unwanted clothes in return for free delivery. Consumers pack their items, choose a drop off point or print a postage label and once dispatched, can swap unwanted clothes for discount vouchers to buy more. ReGain have partnered with some big industry names like, Pretty Little Thing, Forever 21 and Superdry. They say 95% of clothing collected will be reused or recycled with just 5% going to combustibles; a claim I want to look into further another time.
For now, I Saw it First could argue they are 'doing their bit' for the environment by encouraging fashion sustainability and linking with the app. By default, Love Island will ditto this claim.
Another hashtag competing with the inevitable Love Island ones this morning is #ThingsIWantButDontNeed Riding high in this search came Perspex Heel Shoes, sales of which are up 45% thanks to their inclusion on Love Island. I'm not sure the sustainable message is actually getting through just yet...?