Thursday 6 May 2010

Primark: a crippling and ethically unsound addiction.

Minutes after taking this photo, my tripod fell over. And that is why my camera is in a camera-coma awaiting a lens transplant.

I've noticed lots of my fellow bloggers claiming to have kicked the Primark habit lately, and every time it makes me say; 'No, they are right. Primark is BAD FOR THE SOUL. Their clothes are not ethically sourced, and are often badly made. I should, instead of buying three £15 dresses, purchase just one, well-made dress. THAT IS WHAT I SHOULD DO.'

Unfortunately, when I pop into town at lunchtime to buy my beloved Moroccan Chicken soup from M&S (OH MY GOD IT'S THE BEST SOUP EVER IF YOU ARE A VEGETARIAN I AM SAD FOR YOU), I have to walk straight past Primark. And, while it's very easy to resist Primark at the weekend (crowds make me rage), on a quiet Tuesday afternoon, it's much harder. Doesn't help that the knowledge that Tuesday is new stock day is indelibly etched into my brain. (It's also new magazine day!)

And, it's as if Primark KNOW that I'm trying to break the habit, because nestled in between all the chavvy tube dresses and unflattering (to me, okay) boyfriend jumpers are my one (ha) weakness:

Tea dresses. Floral. Tea. Dresses.

And when the average price of a dress is £13, do you see how I cannot break the habit? Do you see? That gorgeous little navy roses number at the end there? Cost a POUND. (I think I picked up a lucky return, because if I'd seen it before, I would have totally paid full price on it.)

Help me, readers. How do I break the Primark habit? And, really... should I?


  1. i feel exactly the same about primark, as much as i love it i do feel awful about the way they are produced. sometimes the stuff is so badly made i ask myself why i buy it. all those £6 flats cant be good for my feet either!

    however its cheap, pretty and easily replaceable and for some reason in my head thats ok.

    although paying £13 for a dress from primark or for a sometimes equally just as badly made dress from toshop from 3 times that ammount...

  2. i don't want to make a decision for you, but the price and extra variety in primark's selections make me go back every time i pass! X

  3. When I haven't been for a while I manage to convince myself that I don't really like it. Then I set foot through the doors and before I know it I've spent £50 on things I don't need. Damn you Primark!

  4. I have incredibly mixed feelings about Primanuel...on the one hand, I KNOW it is unethically sourced and made not-to-last - on the other hand, currently I am only able to get a part-time job which pays poorly, can't afford more ethical brands and DON'T throw away clothes until they're on the brink of self-destruction so it provides a good source of pretty clothes...

    Either way, I'm certainly not judging you - your dresses are beautiful and you look lovely :)

    Sarah x

  5. A pound for that lovely dress??!! Wow, you lucky so and so!

    I struggle with Primark. I don't like to shop there too much and I really dislike this whole overconsumption thing that it encourages. But on a budget and when looking for things that will work for a short time whilst I'm losing weight, there's really no better option. And like someone else has said, the stuff there is often better quality than the tat the other high street stores are dishing up at the moment.

  6. The dresses that you got are all pretty!:D

    I wish we have a Primark in California!:/
    ...and everything girly under the sun!

  7. I've tried Primark, but it was on a Saturday and so the crowds scared me away. Perhaps if I went in on a week day I would be just as obsessed because those dresses are gorgeous.

  8. I've been totally turned off primark lately, because I got fed up of seeing other girls in exactly the same dresses. However, it seems that 'primania' has calmed down a bit now and the quality of their stuff is actually about the same as Topshop but a snip of the price (Don't even get me started on Topshop!). I may venture back into primark one day soon...especially if I can find a beautiful dress like that for £1!!

  9. I can so feel your pain with mixed feelings towards Primarni... On one hand, the dresses ARE so cute and could easily pass for a Topshop piece from afar (and if you squint!) but on the other hand... you purchase a piece from Primarni, step out of that door and 409570810485098763429 other people are wearing the same thing :/ And the crowds terrify me too! XO

  10. You look fabulous in those pretty dresses and when you find something that suits you it's seriously hard to resist buying more.
    Although I don't shop at Primark I don't condemn anyone who does, as long as you wear what you buy and pass on the old stuff to a good cause there's no harm in cheapo fashion.
    It's not just Primark that uses cheap labour - Gucci, Lacoste, Boss, Zara, River Island and Monsoon are often produced in the very same sweatshops and their mark-up is much higher.

  11. Thanks for all the responses, girlies! This is turning into quite the interesting discussion!

    That's really fascinating, by the way, Vix, I had no idea that so many of the higher end brands produced their clothes so unethically. The margins involved make it far less forgiveable.


  12. Ah I have the same dilemma! I hate the fact that it's so unethical but as someone has already mentioned so are a lot of designer brands and the majority of the high street are too these days.... it's a sad thing but I keep telling myself that no matter how many people stop shopping there, there is never going to be a significant change in the way Primark and other companies produce their goods unless there is a proper law/right enforced.

    As for the whole buying three dresses for £30 vs one for £30..... I'm rather sad to say that I'd rather have the bigger wardrobe!

  13. I don't know whether I've just been lucky, but nearly everything I've ever had from Primark (and I shop there all the time) has been excellent quality. When people say stuff like their clothes 'fall apart after one wash', I tend to think they've never shopped there and assume this is the case because the clothes are so cheap. In fact, I have Primark pieces I've owned for years that are still going strong.

    I understand the argument that Primark is unethical, but again, I think they tend to get picked on for this because of the extraordinarily cheap prices. People don't take into account the fact that they produce clothes on a much bigger scale than other high street shops and therefore benefit massively from economies of scale, nor that they spend next to nothing on visuals and marketing. It's commendable to want to shop more ethically, but there's no truly ethical alternative on the high street and even some designer brands produce their goods in sweatshops. Personally, because I'm on a low income I find it very difficult to afford to shop ethically and therefore I don't feel guilty about shopping at Primark, especially as I wear the things I buy there just as much, and for just as long, as I would more expensive clothes, and don't see their products as disposable 'fast fashion'.

  14. I'm a new follower! I love your blog. You have really great pictures :)

    Cute dress by the way!

    Feel free to check out my makeup blog:


  15. Primark have some really cute dresses in at the moment. I keep telling myself not to buy them as I already have too many.

    They look really cute on you. :)

  16. I've actually only been into Primark once in my life; my cousin took me into the Oxford Street one last month. It was 8pm on Friday and it was so full of people it was horrible. I did get a great rope handled bag for the summer though for only £6, and my room mate lives by their plimsoles and make-up pallets, so I can see why a smaller, less crowded branch would be very, very attractive to people shopping on a budget...

  17. I don't know if its just me but I havce noticed that ever since that child labour claim came out that their clothing is now much better quality. Sometimes I have to resew buttons back on but apart from that everything seems the same quality as other high street brands. Personally I use Primark purely for their tights and pretty floral dresses, all my other clothing I buy elsewhere because it just fits nicer and I would rather pay £5 for a vest that is made of nicer fabric than one for £3 as tbh the price range is not that different! Apologies for the epic reply :)

  18. PRIMARK! Incredible for last minute buys, I also need tips on how to break this shopping habit. Takes huge power, if you figure it out then let me know.



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