British High Street shops are open again. And so are social media’s pack of anti-Primark snobs.
Primark re-opened this week, with people camped outside its doors from 6am waiting in anticipation.
It seems like the public aren’t too SHOCKED or ANGRY about queues outside Selfridges, Zara or the Bicester Village. They are, though, ABSOLUTELY SHOCKED and DISGUSTED that people are lining up outside Primark.
I accept that people are worried about a second wave of Covid-19, and some are genuinely dedicated to curbing so-called “fast fashion”. But actually, much of the negativity around Primark is because of snobbery – regarding the brand itself and regarding those who have to live on a tight budget. To give one example of snobbery, there’s been a meme on FB and IG this week stating, ‘Imagine camping outside Primark so you can get your £1 thong.’
A lot has been said about the ethics behind their fast-manufacturing process, their sustainability and their social responsibility. But the company is selective about the factories they work with and labour sources. When possible, they opt for natural and manmade fibres and have worked hard to ensure their supply chain of cotton is as sustainable as possible – decreasing wastewater, investigating chemicals and building local business networks for farming communities. Unlike some luxury brands, like Burberry, which have come under fire for disposing of unsold clothes by burning them, Primark practices a recycling initiative, which donates unsold clothing and samples to the charity Newlife. Meanwhile, all other unwanted materials like used carboards, plastics and hangers are recycled or recovered.
Anyone who has actually shopped for women’s clothes knows that Primark items can’t be bought online. So yes, if you want to shop at Primark, you will have to go into a physical store. Hence this week’s queues.
So, please drop the Primark snobbery. If this pandemic has taught me anything, it’s that I have enough and appreciate what I have, wherever it’s from.