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Primark launches new durability and repair initiatives

Primark Cares

Primark launches new durability and repair initiatives

As part of its commitment to give clothes a longer life, Primark is launching new durability and repair initiatives designed to help ensure clothes can be loved and worn for longer. According to leading climate action NGO WRAP, wearing clothes for longer can reduce the environmental impact of clothing.

As part of its Primark Cares commitments, Primark’s new initiatives include:

  • Working with WRAP, through the Textiles 2030 initiative, to establish an industry-wide fashion durability standard

  • Collaborating with behaviour change experts Hubbub and the University of Leeds to develop independent academic research looking at the relationship between price and durability alongside consumer behaviour

  • Scaling up free clothing repair workshops across Europe alongside a new online hub featuring repair tutorials following a successful 12-month pilot

As part of its commitment to give clothes a longer life, Primark is launching new durability and repair initiatives designed to help ensure clothes can be loved and worn for longer. According to leading climate action NGO WRAP, wearing clothes for longer can reduce the environmental impact of clothing.

The series of new initiatives includes working with WRAP, through its Textile 2030 agreement to establish an industry-wide durability standard, commissioning independent research looking at the relationship between price and consumer behaviour on durability, and scaling up Primark’s free clothing repair workshops following a 12-month pilot. These initiatives support Primark’s ambition to become a more circular business in line with its long-term sustainability strategy, Primark Cares.

Championing the introduction of an industry-wide durability standard

There is currently no recognised standard for durability across the fashion industry. Primark wants to help change that to ensure that consumers can be assured that what they buy will last, no matter how much they can afford to spend. This supports Primark’s commitment to strengthen the durability of its clothes by 2025.

To tackle this, Primark is working with WRAP, as a signatory to its Textiles 2030 initiative, which is bringing businesses together to create a uniform standard for durability. Through this work, Primark has developed a new enhanced durability wash framework using a framework based on WRAP’s Clothing Longevity Protocol. Primark started with testing denim and, so far, 60% of the products tested have passed the new enhanced wash framework. Socks and all jersey categories across womenswear, menswear and kidswear are now being pilot tested in line with this new framework.

Understanding consumer behaviour

Primark wants to understand the factors which impact on how long clothing lasts. To do this, the retailer is partnering with environmental and behaviour change experts Hubbub. As part of the project, Primark has commissioned the University of Leeds School of Design to carry out independent academic research that tests the physical durability on a range of women’s and men’s clothing of different price points under controlled conditions.

Primark will also work with Hubbub to research consumer attitudes to clothing and to examine consumer wearing and washing habits in practice in order to further understand the factors that impact clothing durability. The findings of both these studies will be shared later this year.

Rolling out repair education to customers

Finally, following a successful pilot in 2022 with 43 repair workshops rolled out to customers and colleagues in UK and Republic of Ireland (ROI), Primark is expanding its free repair workshop programme to more stores across the UK and ROI initially, with additional European markets to follow. The sessions are led by Designer and Fashion lecturer Lorraine Mitchell and fashion stylist Janina Gruber and come in response to a renewed interest from customers in prolonging the life of clothes. The hands-on sessions cover core basic repair skills – from sewing buttons, zips and mending tears, as well as lessons in customisation – which are increasingly important in a cost-of-living crisis.

To maximise the reach of these repair skills and tips to Primark’s millions of followers across social media, Primark has created an online customer hub featuring easy-to-follow repair videos, covering everything from basic stitching to sewing on buttons and zips. The tutorials will be available across all its social channels.

This year’s programme will include classes across the UK, ROI and Northern Ireland including Edinburgh, Belfast, Liffey Valley and York, as well as an extensive programme of classes across Primark’s London stores during London Repair on w/c 20th March. A full programme and the ability to sign up can be found here.

In the Primark Manchester Market Street store, in addition to repair workshops, there will be a dedicated space where free monthly workshops will be run in collaboration with community partners.

Lynne Walker, Director of Primark Cares, said:“We believe passionately that more sustainable fashion should be affordable for all and whatever your budget you should be able to trust that the clothes you are buying meet a certain standard and can go the distance. This has never been more important for our customers.

“That’s why we want to see the introduction of a durability standard across the fashion industry, and we want to understand more about the behaviours and attitudes which impact how we all wear and care for our clothes. We know that many clothes that are discarded may still have plenty of wear left in them and that’s why we want to help people learn new repair skills to be able to sew, fix a button or even customise a piece of clothing and give it a new lease of life.”

Catherine David, Director of Collaboration and Change at WRAP, said: “WRAP’s research shows that wearing the clothes we own for longer has a positive impact on the planet. Both the physical and emotional durability of clothing, are therefore really important factors when considering the clothes we buy. WRAP’s Textiles 2030 initiative, in partnership with The Leeds Institute of Textiles and Colour, is currently exploring the complex nature of garment durability and how it is key to creating a more circular fashion industry, a project which Primark have been a key partner in. WRAP welcomes Primark’s engagement with our work on the development of durability guidelines for clothing and share their mission to help customers love their clothes for longer.”

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