Like it or loathe it - Love Island returned to the nation’s screens on Monday. The show attracts massive audiences, but this season is already making one or two headlines including the news that this year’s islanders will be clad in second-hand clothes from eBay.
This is a significant switch up from previous series. Historically, fast fashion partners have dressed contestants in a seemingly endless supply of new and beautiful looks. Some of the most popular items worn by islanders can sell out within seconds of appearing on the live show. However, it is obvious that multiple new outfits for each person every day is not a sustainable approach to fashion – for the planet, or for our wallets.
Partnering with eBay will therefore be an opportunity to promote preloved clothing amongst younger audiences, but also to educate viewers on the benefits of sustainable shopping habits. For example, eBay saved over 17,771 tonnes of preloved clothing from landfill in 2021 through sale of second-hand items on the platform – the equivalent of 1,404 double decker buses and £millions in value.
Buying second-hand brands on eBay can be a fabulous way to bag a bargain but, unfortunately, infringing and counterfeit goods are most probably also on offer alongside the genuine articles. It is reassuring that eBay views infringement of Intellectual Property and trade mark rights seriously. It has its own VeRo takedown policy providing brand owners with a tool to deal with suspicious listings. However, practically it is extremely difficult to police every single item that is available on eBay and so sellers as well as buyers should take some responsibility in helping brand owners ensure that their trade marks guarantee a source of quality and reassurance for consumers.
An important issue to also bear in mind is the re-selling of genuine goods and exhaustion of brand owners’ rights. This is a complex area of law and the legality of re-sales will depend on various factors. Generally, if you are considering re-selling genuine branded products originally sold in the UK to the EEA (to Germany or France for example) you may be infringing rights. The brand owner could remove your listings at the very least.
In contrast, any items bought within the EEA (in Germany or France for example) and then put for re-sale in the UK would be fine as long as they have been sold in their original, unaltered form. We did say it was a complex area! Unfortunately, the uncertainties of Brexit are still with us on this issue and the position may change once the government has decided on the best exhaustion of rights regime to adopt, so watch this space.
For the time being, as the seller, be aware. As a consumer, if you are trying to bag a second hand bargain make sure you are comfortable with whether it is genuine and where it came from. Whilst in legal terms this “may not be your type on paper” make sure you’re not punching above your weight!