Love Island’s Brett Staniland on PLT protest: ‘It’s not me against Molly-Mae, it’s the machine she works with’

Last week Molly-Mae Hague’s PrettyLittleThing fashion show took place. Molly – who is the creative director of the fast fashion brand – had Love Island teammates including her boyfriend, Tommy Fury, and her best friend Maura Higgins to support her.

But a group of protesters, including Love Island’s Brett Staniland, also showed up outside the show, which was held at the Londoner Hotel in Leicester Square. They were there to protest what they claim are unfair wages for staff at the Boohoo factory, which owns PrettyLittleThing. (One held a sign that read, “PLT creative director salary £4.8m, PLT clothing manufacturer salary £7,280. Same 24 hours a day.”) They were also singing on durability.

Speaking to Grazia after the event, Brett says that as a high fashion model, raising awareness of sustainable fashion has always been a passion. “For the past few years, I’ve worked exclusively with high-end or sustainable luxury brands, and I’ve been away from fast fashion for a while.” He continues, “When the opportunity arose, that we could maybe create change and raise awareness about the bad practices of fast fashion and their unethical business model, I thought it would be really good.”

He revealed that the protest was in the planning and that their small group had organized it a few days before. The model says: “With this cause, I’m drawn to exploited people – sustainable fashion is about the planet, but I really have empathy for the people in the story, because they’re often overlooked.”

(A spokesperson for PrettyLittleThing told Grazia: “Any suggestion that people making clothes for PLT or any other boohoo Group PLC brand are paid below minimum wage is grossly inaccurate. We publish a list of all of our approved UK and international manufacturers, all of whom have been audited within the last 18 months, and we do not tolerate any non-compliance with our supplier code of conduct.the people who make our garments see their rights at the place of protected work.’)

But, coming from a show synonymous with fast fashion (I Saw It First sponsors Love Island), what does Brett think of his peers who attended the event? “I fight to have friends who support these fast fashion brands,” he admits. “I think people believe you can only go to Love Island if you support these fast fashion brands – you don’t have to. I brought all my clothes to a villa and made a point about it.

Brett admits the reaction to such a bold move has been mixed. “At London Fashion Week, people came up to me and said, ‘Well done, we saw the protest.’ women or say it wasn’t Molly-Mae’s fault.” He explains, “I’m not directly trying to attack Molly-Mae, she’s part of it but she’s not everything.” He doesn’t It’s never been about bringing down ambitious women. It’s about making people aware that this type of business exploits women in their supply chains and exploits communities everywhere.

The model hopes that by using his voice he can inspire change. And he says he’d rather “empower people” than “shame them into changing”. “All I can try to do is raise awareness and provide social media education,” he says. ‘Even if [the people who were] in the queue, we weren’t embarrassing them, we were trying to encourage them. We basically said look, it’s not too late. We all have fast fashion items in our wardrobes, but we need to make the most of them.

So after the protest — and the wide coverage it got, from news websites and people sharing pictures of the protest on Instagram — what does Brett want to change? “I think there should be legislation in place for companies to map 100% of their supply chains, so they can be fully accountable for any bad practices they have,” he says.

READ MORE: It’s time Love Island broke with fast fashion – before it’s too late

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