Primark Repair Workshops
A question we often get asked about our clothes is whether fashion sold at our low prices can really last. It’s reasonable to wonder if a pair of Primark jeans that cost $20 will last as long as a pair from another brand that cost closer to $100.
We always reply by asking whether a garment's price tag is really the most accurate indicator of whether it will last or not. Spoiler alert: it’s not. But don’t take our word for it. We’re working in collaboration with industry partners to help prove it.
When it comes to fashion, durability — or how long a product lasts — really matters. As well as getting better value for money by keeping your clothes in use for longer, we’re also creating less waste and therefore reducing the impact your wardrobe has on the planet.
Given how important this issue is, it may surprise you that there is no current industry standard for measuring the durability of clothing. We want to help change this. That’s why we're working with WRAP, a leading sustainability charity, as a “pioneering signatory” to Textiles 2030. This is the UK’s most ambitious voluntary agreement designed to limit the impact of clothing and home textiles on climate change. It’s in line with the Paris Agreement to reduce climate change, as well as the UN Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action. The initiative uses a "Target, Measure, Act" approach, where businesses set targets, measure their impact and track progress, both on an individual basis and towards national targets.
Through this, we're collaborating with WRAP and other retailers to review the durability guidelines in their Clothing Longevity Protocol. We’ve already started these conversations through WRAP’s durability and circularity working groups and our collective aim is to define new industry guidelines for up to five key product categories by the end of 2022, with more to follow. The Protocol was created in 2013 and is designed to reduce the impact of clothes - and the fashion industry as a whole - on the environment by increasing their durability to extend the lifetime of clothing.
As part of this initiative, we have already implemented our own durability testing through independent, third-party accredited labs. We look at how long our garments retain their color, whether they’re prone to shrinkage, damaged seams or pilling. We do this in a variety of ways. We are already wash-testing clothes in all our collections, and carry out comprehensive chemical, safety, claims and quality testing. Outside of the lab, we also conduct informal “wearer trials”, where people wear our clothes to check their quality and performance, something we are hoping to increase more and more throughout our ranges.
We want to go even further: The longer clothes last, the less waste is generated, which is better for the environment. As part of our new commitment to sustainability, we're turning up the dial on durability. We've started with denim, which is one of our customers’ key wardrobe staples.
We’ve started much more intense testing of a selection of our denim collections in men’s, women’s and childrenswear to a much higher test of 30 washes. This benchmark is currently recommended by WRAP and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. Next, we’ll be turning our attention to putting other collections through more enhanced testing.
As we increase our testing activity throughout our collections – we'll continue to work closely with suppliers and support them to ensure their products are able to meet our tougher benchmarks. This might mean helping them make product improvements, such as the better use of dyes or adjustments to fabrics to strengthen them. This process will offer continuous improvements over time, and be carried out simultaneously with the development of WRAP's new Clothing Longevity Protocol.
We want to help you do your bit, too. We all can help to extend the lifespan of our clothes and reduce the impact on the environment if we all make sure we look after our clothes in the right way. It also saves money by reducing the energy you're using to wash and dry your clothes while also reducing your clothes’ environmental footprint after you’ve bought them.
Here are the Top Five Tips for giving your fashions a longer, happier life.
Alternatives to Washing Your Clothes
Apart from underwear and socks, very few items of clothing need to be washed after one wear. Try airing out, steaming or spot cleaning worn clothes, instead.
Follow Instructions On Care Labels
Remember the degrees shown is the MAXIMUM temperature for washing your item. With the exception of underwear, bedding and towels, most clothes can be cleaned at 30 °C (86 °F) or less. Lower wash temperatures use less water and energy. Plus washing inside out, washing with similar colors, closing zips and emptying pockets can all help prolong the life of your clothes.
Avoid Tumble Drying & Ironing
Air drying — whether outdoors or inside — is less stressful on clothing and uses a lot less energy. If you reshape them while they’re damp you can also cut down on ironing.
Don’t Overdo It With Detergent Or Softener
Fill your washing machine, leaving enough room so water can penetrate the clothing and let the detergent do its work.
Repair, Reuse and Recycle
Give old clothes new life by repairing holes and split seams. You can get creative with buttons and embellishments, or by cutting items up and stitching them back together differently. Alternatively, you can recycle them in the donation boxes in our Primark stores.