Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Not everything in Primark is bad

I recently read in a magazine the following

"Despite the recent economic slump. Primark recorded a 21 percent sales increase last year proving that fast fashion retail model is here to stay. But for how long can this throwaway attitude to clothing be sustained before the landfills get full? ...Stop buying crap."

OK lets dissect this statement a little, fast fashion has always been with us, it's just like most things, it has got a little faster. As a teenager I would spend hours looking for a certain style top or jeans wear it to death then move on. I feel all that has changed is that I wash the girls clothes less often as they have more.
As I stood waiting outside the changing room waiting for Daisy (who LOVES Primark, not because it's cheap but because they FIT.) I alighted on this cardie. I just looked, then felt it, very soft cotton, well cut and the perfect balance of stripes, navy and cream the most flattering kind.
I waited some more, then tried it on, it looked lovely.
There is an urban myth that because you pay more for your clothes those who make the clothes must be paid more, that if this cardie hung in Jigsaw it would cost at least £75 and the notion would be the workers were paid a fair rate. Not true, the workers are paid a set rate, it makes little difference if they knit and stitch for Arcadia, Jigsaw or Primark the going rate is paid. Jigsaw may use better fabrics, although I doubt it from what I have seen recently, the only difference is that Philip Green & Co charge more for the same thing, his profit margins are greater that is all. So I bought it.

That Primark clothes are somehow more disposable for being cheap. Not true, They wash to perfection Daisy has half a wardrobe full of Primark clothes I wash them all in the machine, shake and hang. They don't even get ironed. After two years she is still wearing them all they neither shrink nor bobble, you just have to know what fabrics to buy, it is ALL about spotting the good fabrics.

They appear to favour her petite size but I have a few pieces from there and I'm 5'7. I love their trousers and occasionally some knitwear. They maybe cheap but they are not throwaway, neither are they crap they just cost less.

Now if we are naming and shaming those whose clothes I HAVE had to dispose of GAP would be right up there. They always twist and shrink. A close second place would be Jigsaw whose clothes shrivel and the sight of water, a sign of very poor fabric quality.


Borntoknit said...

How interesting! I have to confess that Primark makes me exhausted as soon as I enter the shop.
But the last time I was in London I bought some nice things from UNIQLO, both for me and my daughter.
How do you rate that shop?

Johanne in Stockholm

Looking Fab in your forties said...

I have never even been in a Primark, I love Jigsaw though! I find New Look clothes dreadful, my kids stuff is always falling apart.

materfamilias said...

We don't have Primark here but I can relate to some of your analysis, for sure -- I think you're right that much of the mass-produced, chain shop items result from a pretty similar labour context (and environmental as well, I'd imagine).
I've had good luck with The Gap, I have to say, and they used to be very good about full refunds for garments that didn't survive as they should. These days, everything seems to be labeled "dry clean only" -- a ploy which avoids any responsibility for washing, which decently processed cotton (and many other fabrics as well) should be able to stand up to.

indigo16 said...

I love UNIQLO and have had considerable success with washing ther clothes, like Muji they appear to have very good quality control.
Looking Fab..
No I would never voluntarily go into Primark the actual experience is GRIM, My gripe with Jigsaw (apart from bobbling knitwear) is the lack of XL.
Mater you are right about GAP they have always refunded me but part of me is tired of the lottery. And yes the whole dry clean only thing is very irritating and quite common in Zara and Toast.