Former star believes was in a ‘great position’ to turn down her Pretty Little Thing deal, which is said to be worth six figures.
The international dressage rider, 19, recently announced that she was the latest ambassador following in the footsteps of creative director Molly-Mae Hague.
Following the announcement, Gemma shared her hopes of while talking in her first YouTube video since leaving the Majorcan villa.
‘What made me want to stick with PLT was the confidence I had in the brand,’ she told viewers.
‘I think it’s authentic, I had confidence I would be able to make it my own collection, I didn’t want to just put my name on something, I wanted it to be absolutely what I would normally wear and love every single piece of it.’
However, Gemma’s signing to the fast-fashion company after fans brought up the PLT Twitter poll asking their followers who would be the ‘perfect PLT doll’ between Gemma and fellow islander Indiyah Polack – which saw Indiyah receiving thousands of votes.
Addressing the social engagement controversy, sustainability fashion advocate Brett, 27, branded the move as ‘exploitative.’
Speaking exclusively to Metro. co.uk, he said: ‘It’s one of those things but not surprising to see, it was not surprising to everyone that they were using her popularity, especially on Twitter.
‘It was quite obvious that Indiyah was going to win that, but to then announce Gemma as the new ambassador, it’s so exploitative of someone’s popularity, name and credibility but it’s not surprising.’
Gemma finished in second place during the latest season of Love Island alongside fishmonger Luca Bish, and one of the biggest talking points about the new cast was the fact that Gemma is the daughter of England footballing legend .
Brett added: ‘She [Gemma] was in a great position to say “you know what no. I’m not going to work with these brands. I don’t need the money, the lifestyle and the fame.”
‘I think Gemma had such a massive opportunity. But each to their own if that’s the path she wants to go down. It’s obviously attractive seeing how successful Molly-Mae has become, but everyone should do what they want to do.’
During a Pretty Little Thing runway last year, which was fronted by creative director and series five Love Island finalist Molly-Mae Hague, around 20 demonstrators gathered outside to protest against the wages of Boohoo factory staff, which owns PLT.
PHD student Brett, who entered series seven of Love Island as bombshell and briefly coupled up with , held a sign that read: ‘There’s nothing pretty about wage theft.’
found in 2020 that Boohoo had failed to prove they pay the minimum wage to workers after selling clothes made by at least 18 factories in Leicester.
It was reported that some workers were being paid as little as £3-£4 an hour.
PrettyLittleThing told Metro.co.uk at the time that ‘any suggestion that the people making clothes for PLT or any other Boohoo group PLC brand are paid lower than the minimum wage is grossly inaccurate.’
After the latest series ditched fas-fashion for second-hand clothing on series eight, Brett championed the move, but with two seasons of Love Island confirmed for next year, he believes more can be done.
‘We need TV,’ he explained.
‘eBay didn’t have any of the advert space in between the show breaks. We need it to be there and the logo to be there. It consciously trains you to think about eBay all the time.
‘That’s how we’ve been positioned by Boohoo and the other brands in the past. Every single ad break has been shoved in our faces. We need to get a little bit like that with eBay.’
Metro.co.uk has reached out to Gemma Owen and Pretty Little Thing for comment.
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