Primark is launching new durability and repair initiatives as part of the retailer’s commitment to giving clothes a longer life, part of its Primark Cares sustainability strategy. The initiatives include working with Wrap through its Textile 2030 agreement to establish an industrywide durability standard; commissioning independent research examining the relationship between price and consumer behavior on durability; and scaling up Primark’s free clothing repair workshops following a 12-month pilot.
Primark wants to champion the durability standard as part of its own commitment to strengthening the durability of its clothes by 2025. The retailer will tackle this by developing an enhanced durability wash standard using a framework based on Wrap’s Clothing Longevity Protocol. The retailer is starting with its denim offerings, and so far 60% of products it’s tested have met the enhanced standard. Socks and all jersey categories will be the focus of the next pilot.
The retailer also is commissioning 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. Additionally, Primark will partner with environmental and behavior change experts at Hubbub to research consumer attitudes regarding clothing and wearing and washing habits in practice in order to better understand the factors that impact clothing durability.
The final piece of Primark’s program will be rolling out its free repair workshop program to more stores in the UK, with additional European markets to follow. Primark hosted 43 sessions in 2022 covering core basic repair skills — from sewing buttons, zips and mending tears to customization tips. The retailer also has created an online hub with easy-to-follow repair videos that it will share across its social channels.
“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,” said Lynne Walker, Director of Primark Cares in a statement. “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 behaviors 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 customize a piece of clothing and give it a new lease of life.”