How ‘islanders’ helped boost Ebay’s pre-loved fashion push

“The fact that we made headlines when we first announced that the Islanders would be wearing second-hand clothes shows how ingrained fast fashion has become in society,” said Kirsty Keoghan, general manager. World of Pre-Loved Fashion at Ebay UK, when asked. on the platform’s ongoing partnership with Love Island.

Initially as a team for the first time last year, the deal between the duo was something of a “never seen before” deal. Before Ebay, the popular British reality series had only ever worked with fast fashion brands, such as Missguided, to dress its “islanders” – the title given to participants. That was until the ITV program chose to ditch fast fashion in favor of more circular options, a decision the impact of which Ebay and Love Island were initially unable to comprehend.

Speaking to FashionUnited, Keoghan said: “When we first launched the partnership last summer, we were of course hoping for the impact we could have, but I don’t think any of us could have imagined the magnitude of that impact in reality today.. The response has been overwhelmingly positive, and we believe that’s the spark behind the prelike boom we find ourselves in right now.

Make adopting pre-loved fashion no longer “new” news

Having just completed its third season with Love Island on July 31, for which Ebay switched to anti to become the main sponsor of the program, it is already clear that consumers are responding well, as evidenced by the figures published by the platform. According to Koeghan, Ebay saw more than 1,400% more searches for “pre-loved fashion” during Love Island season 9 in December, compared to season eight – the first to feature the partnership.

Love Island season 10 contestant Ella Thomas wearing a look from the Ebay auction. Credits: eBay.

Now, however, Ebay hopes to ensure that the concept of working with pre-loved fashion is no longer “new” news, as Koeghan’s perception of success in this area is very different from that of his fast fashion counterparts. . She noted, “For us, our marker of success goes far beyond tracking sales and listings, it’s all about impact and perception – we want to know how far we’ve come in our mission to make of the pre-loved the first choice. While we’ve made great strides in raising awareness for second-hand fashion, our mission to make second-hand a top choice for everyone is far from over.

According to her, a change in perception is already present among consumers. The idea of ​​pre-liked purchases particularly appealed to Love Island viewers, those aged 18 to 35, who Keoghan says were behind the shift to the circular solution. According to Ebay, this group has the highest average percentage of second-hand clothes in their wardrobe at 22%, almost double that of the over 55s.

There has also been an increase in the number of shoppers specifically looking for designers worn by islanders, including Jacquemus, Ralph Lauren and Versace. As a result, it has also seen their taste for the pre-loved move away from fast fashion second-hand clothes towards items from these brands. Koeghan added: “Buyers are increasingly coveting brands and ultimately the secondary market provides an entry point into luxury fashion for those looking for value. We see this as a real opportunity for Ebay and continue to bring this message to the forefront of consumers’ minds in an effort to help demonstrate that there is another way to get the look, but for less. .

Pushing the Preloved Beyond the Summer Season

Ebay’s efforts to push pre-loved fashion go beyond the show itself, with partnerships of a similar level continuing after Love Island ended. One of the most notable of these was with series eight contestant Tasha Ghouri, who was named Ebay’s first pre-loved ambassador and became the first former Islander to partner with a pre-loved brand after her time on the show. Additionally, in May 2023, the platform also hired its Amy Bannerman, first pre-loved in-house styling directorwho was originally appointed to dress the villa islanders when the partnership was launched.

Tasha Ghouri, Ebay’s Pre-Loved Ambassador and former Love Island contestant, wearing pieces from her Pre-Loved collection with Ebay. Credits: eBay.

This emphasis on summer aligns with Ebay’s findings that the season is “too often associated with last-minute shopping and disposable items,” Koeghan pointed out. Dubbed “the one-wear summer,” Ebay’s ongoing strategy during this period focused on encouraging customers to pack their vacation suitcases with pre-loved pieces instead of throwaways. Efforts to reinforce this mission have resulted in second-hand pop-ups in train stations and investments in small and medium-sized businesses focused on circular fashion solutions – for example, the Circular Fashion Innovation Fund launched alongside the British Fashion Council (BFC).

But of course it’s not just the summer period where circular solutions are needed, and so Keoghan added that Ebay is considering what options there are beyond this period. Recent market initiatives include its Pre-loved Wedding Center and his “schwopping” partnership with Marks & Spencer, a pilot program to sell pre-loved school uniforms through the department store retailer. However, it was the speeding up of authentication that really caught Ebay’s attention.

Authentication is a key player in eBay’s strategy

While the platform has offered this service for luxury goods for several years already through its authentication centers in the UK and Germany, it has stepped up its efforts in this area, expanding the offer to other categories. , as street clothing And kids sneakers, to cater to a wider clientele. He also recently acquired Certilogo, an AI-powered digital ID and authentication company to further advance the industry, integrating the company’s technology to provide a more seamless process.

The intention to inflate this supply comes largely from increased demand from buyers, as noted by Keoghan, who said, “With the booming luxury aftermarket, verifying the authenticity of a product designer style is non-negotiable for the modern shopper. Consumers need to feel confident in their purchases, especially in the current economic climate. While the guarantee of authenticity has of course provided an extra layer of confidence and comfort, it would be naïve to assume that this is the sole driver for the increase in second-hand luxury purchases. Instead, we can look to industry to provide the crucial insights behind changing consumer behaviors. »

Naturally, Ebay also aims to continue growing the pre-loved category, even going beyond borders. Keoghan said: “The appetite for pre-loveds is high across Europe, as it is in the UK, which is why we are continuously investing in all markets to make it easier for brands to resell.” Proof of this are partnerships with repair experts such as Reskinned and Advanced Clothing Solutions (ACS), through which brands have been able to approach Ebay in search of European and global solutions to support their resale plans.

When asked where Ebay is preparing from here, Keoghan subtly hinted at future initiatives, concluding, “We are always thinking about how we can create impact and disruption for the better in pursuit our mission to make second-hand the first choice. As well as looking at how we can create more joint circular solutions for brands. Watch this space, as our plans evolve and we will be doing much more over the next few months and beyond.

Ebay x Love Island Paddington Station pop-up stand. Credits: eBay.

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