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Indiyah x PLT MarketPlace: Not Such A Pretty Little Thing

Tonight on Love Island…

Unsplash / Karina Tess

Indiyah Polack, UK Love Island contestant, has coupled up with Pretty Little Thing. As the new ambassador for their pretty big thing: PLT MarketPlace, Indiyah will be the face of PLT’s new pre-loved clothing initiative. But will this be a micro-trend or a timeless piece?

Since placing third on Love Island with her boyfriend Dami Hope, Indiyah has since been sought after by brands. Already the beauty ambassador for Boots, the Love Island star has recently signed a six-figure deal with Pretty Little Thing: an online fast-fashion retailer aimed at young women.

Twitter / @1ndiyah

What’s PLT MarketPlace?

On the 30th of August 2022, PLT launched its MarketPlace. This new addition to the fashion world hopes to encourage re-sales of fast fashion items. With Indiyah as the new ambassador, PLT aims to promote the three R’s (re-sell, re-wear, re-use) to their impressionable young audience. In a statement, Indiyah discussed her own passion for pre-loved clothing:

“As soon as I knew PLT wanted me to support this initiative and be the ambassador for the marketplace, where the focus is on re-wearing and re-selling, which is something that’s important to me, I knew I wasn’t going to turn the opportunity down.”

PLT has labeled this initiative as an ‘out of the box’ idea. However, with the rise of sites such as Depop and Vinted, one thing PLT appears to have little of is innovation. Over ten years ago, ASOS was the first to launch its own marketplace, a platform for independent brands and vintage boutiques. What’s been named as the first step into a world of eco-fashion is just re-tracing worn-in boot marks.

Twitter / @tolmeia

PLT: To Shop Or Not To Shop?

Not only is the platform an unoriginal idea, but it’s also a pretty poor one. After speaking to sustainability authors and influencers, Huffington Post has called out PLT MarketPlace for greenwashing:

‘To mislead (the public) or counter (public or media concerns) by falsely representing a person, company, or product, etc., as being environmentally responsible.’

v. greenwash, OED

Ultimately, this takes up important space in the fight against environmental issues. If customers believe that shopping from PLT benefits the planet, their sales will increase. However, if this is misinformed, a growth in demand for fast, unethical fashion is extremely detrimental to the planet.

MarketPlace or not, Pretty Little Thing received an environmental rating of ‘not good enough’ and a labour rating of ‘very poor’ from Good On You. Laura Young, climate activist and ethical influencer, explains PLT are not tackling issues like ‘materials, production, transportation, and packaging’. Instead, they’ve created a secondhand platform to generate more profit, which will ‘continue to fuel their unsustainable practises’.

Twitter / @chaurneverdies

Material Gorl

Speaking of fuel, one of the primary materials used in PLT clothing is polyester: made by a chemical reaction from compounds derived from fossil fuels. Moreover, you can’t recycle polyester. Either it ends up being incinerated (which releases carbon dioxide) or in landfill. To top it off, the material isn’t biodegradable. This means it can shed carcinogenic microfibres which can be ingested and lodged in our gut. Regarding their other materials, PLT uses leather and wool without stating their sources.

However, when asked about their new MarketPlace by Huffington Post, PLT commented on some of the benefits of their new platform:

“We are all about making fashion more diverse and inclusive, giving our customers the creative freedom to express themselves. With the PLT Marketplace App, it is now even easier to join our ‘PLTLoved’ movement as we all play our part in reducing waste.”

Huffington Post

Although a focus on increased diversity in the fashion industry is important, PLT failed to detail any advantages pertaining to the environment. Instead, they’ve advertised a branded movement that encourages shoppers to purchase more clothing. What’s more, PLT’s ambassadors: Indiyah Polack, Gemma Owen, and Molly-Mae Hague all rose to fame on Love Island UK, a TV program with 5 million weekly viewers.

Pre-Loved Island

Since 2019, when 2nd place contestant Molly-Mae signed with PLT, Love Island has maintained ties with the company. However, this is to the dismay of other participants, such as Brett Staniland. Last February, during Molly-Mae Hague’s PLT catwalk show, Brett stood outside with a group of protesters. One held a sign stating:

‘PLT Creative Director Salary: £4.8 million, PLT garment maker salary £7,280. Same 24 hours in a day.’

Twitter / @whufc_fan2022

Throughout his experience filming Love Island, Brett brought all his own clothes into the villa. He chooses to stay away from fast fashion for the sake of the planet and to support workers who are exploited in the industry.

In conclusion, it’s safe to say that shopping through PLT MarketPlace isn’t going to stop climate change. Fast fashion items aren’t made to last, second-hand or not. Using greenwashing as a smoke screen to cover up environmental issues will send us further into the climate crisis. Next time you’re looking for a pre-loved item, maybe try your local charity shop.

Written By

Hi, my name is Mads Brown (they/them). I'm a third-year English Literature student at University College London. I write for the Culture board at Trill Mag, and my favourite topics to cover are literature and the arts. Alongside writing, I really enjoy theatre, playing guitar, and walks in nature.

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