One minute you’re rocking a glittery gold number with your best mate to a New Year party, next thing you know, the same dress is on Love Island.
That’s what happened to Louise Alice, a 29-year-old sustainability communications specialist from East London.
Alice, who is also a musician, is a seasoned thrifter and buys and sells many second-hand items of clothing.
Recently, her pre-loved dress went all the way to the Majorcan villa of Love Island. And we saw resident hotty Gemma Owen sporting the same look.
The shiny attire means a lot to Alice, who actually wore it at a lockdown New Year’s party (with just her flatmate of course, because that was life in 2020). She also donned the dress for Christmas day.
Wearing the glam sequin-embellished dress added a bit of spark to life in lockdown, and Alice is glad the item has found a second home, though she certainly didn’t expect to see it on national television.
“I purchased the dress a few years ago and recently sold on eBay,” Alice tells HuffPost UK.
“I wore the dress on several occasions but most memorably on Christmas day during the 2020 lockdown, when I got dressed up with my housemate to celebrate Christmas on our rooftop terrace in London. We couldn’t go anywhere due to the restrictions, so we decided to have a glamorous stay home Christmas.”
The piece was chosen to go on the show after Amy Bannerman, eBay’s Love Island stylist, spotted it online. She picked it for the Shimmer and Shine party, which saw the Islanders adorn the brightest get-ups. Gemma naturally went for gold.
Alice has been sharing all her looks, including the one she’s thrifted, on her social media where she encourages others to buy second-hand.
“Gemma looked amazing and it’s such a beautiful piece of clothing,” she adds.
“As a buyer and seller of used items I listed the dress on my eBay selling account a few months ago hoping it would find a new owner, I was quite shocked it ended up on television though. When I sell items, I often share them on my social platforms or sell through second-hand platforms.”
Alice, who grew up visiting auction houses and car boot sales, says when she buys pre-loved items, she looks for quality, style and durability. She also loves the environmentally friendly aspect of it too.
“Buying and recycling clothing can help reduce our personal impact on the environment and reuse can be financially savvy too!” she says.
“It’s really up to the fashion houses to address the environmental issues around production and the huge issues around gender equality and workers’ rights, but we can all be aware of our individual impact, and it’s amazing to see some companies embracing independent pre-loved sellers and the smaller apps and websites opening in this space.”
So we know how Gemma’s gold number came to be. But how are other islanders’ clothes picked? Amy Bannerman, the show’s e-Bay stylist, has the answers.
She tells HuffPost UK: “To decide which clothes I source for Love Island, at the beginning of the project, we decided upon four themes and shopped on eBay within those themes to help us be super focused.
“I also interviewed 18 of the first Islanders before they headed into the villa, so I was able to get really specific details about their styles and shop with these in mind. From how they like a dress to fit and what it shows off best, through to what colours they like and whether they’re into a pattern or prefer something more muted.”
Which are the most popular styles, then?
“Really brightly coloured pieces like Tasha’s Versace yellow, as well as cut away fits like Indiyah’s Poster Girl dresses,” says Bannerman.
“Anything super corseted, glamorous and satin like the House of CB dress that Ekin-Su wore when she first walked in and Gemma’s gold dress have also been big hits.
“For the boys, the really luxury shirts have been hugely popular, from the Jacquemas shirt worn by Dami, to the Prada tiger bowling shirt that Luca wore he other night. Also with the boys, they’re keen on Prevu, an East London brand that does smart co-ord loungewear sets, which we’ve seen Jacques wear and is a design that encourages multiple wears.”
So, what are Bannerman’s faves?
“My favourite stand-out item so far in the series, that I’ve loved the most, has to be Tasha in the vintage Versace yellow co-ord,” she says. “She literally glowed on screen and it shows how you can get such unusual, fashion-forward, iconic looks on eBay that you couldn’t find anywhere else. It’s a very special piece.”