Primark is at the opposite end of the fashion spectrum to Mango, Prada and Gucci. The clothes are cheap, dirt cheap. So cheap you can pick up a pair of jeans for less than a fiver. So cheap they are undercutting the charity shops selling secondhand clothes, though that in part is because the charity shops have gotten greedy and are ripping people off.
On my one and only visit to a Primark store it was easy to see why the clothes are cheap, they are of inferior quality. But then what do you expect when you pick up a pair of jeans for a fiver!
Cheap fashion comes at a high cost, a high human cost, a high cost to the environment.
Labour Behind the Label and sister organisations have highlighted the human misery behind the production of clothes for Primark, the long hours, the below a living wage wages, the sweatshop conditions, the use of child labour.
Primark clothes are so cheap they have become disposable items, wear once and throw away. A one way trip to landfill, as unless donated to a charity shop to be worn again, the mix of fabrics used and the method of manufacture make it impossible to recycle.
Politicians fiddle and diddle whilst the planet burns, like lemmings over a cliff we are heading into the abyss of an irreversible climate catastrophe. We have to make deep cuts in our carbon emissions, starting with 10% cut in 2010. We have to bring CO2 down to below 350ppm in the atmosphere if we are to have any hope of stabilising then reducing the global rise in temperature.
We tend to be so focused on transport costs, heating costs, that we overlook the embedded energy in the goods we make, the consumer junk we buy. A can of coke has roughly 2/3 of a kilowatt-hour of embedded energy in the can alone!
We buy our unwanted consumer goods, take them home where they become clutter, then throw them out. A one way trip to landfill.
Primark is encouraging wanton consumption. As a comedian joked recently on the News Quiz, visit the Primark buffet, all the clothes you can wear in a single sitting.
We have heard of Fair Trade, well how about a Trade Free Zone? A group of activist set up their stall outside a Primark store in Cambridge with Free Shop. Want cheap clothes, well come to our stall, we pile them up high and give them away free!
Please support the Love Fashion Hate Sweatshops campaign.