Primark Launches ‘Designed to Last’ Collection – But Shouldn’t All Clothing be Made to Last?

Primark, the fast fashion retailer, has recently launched a new denim collection that claims to feature ‘clothing made to last’. The press release has caused a storm on social media, with many seeing it as greenwashing. It also begs the question as to whether Primark is admitting that the rest of its stuff is designed to fall apart!

Read on to hear more about our thoughts on the subject, and what some of the British brands that genuinely do make clothing that will last, think of Primark’s latest news.

Paul Marchant Primark CEO - LinkedIn Post
CEO of Primark Paul Marchant’s statement on LinkedIn about Primark’s new ‘circular denim collection’

2023 is the tenth anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster, in which over 1200 garment workers in Bangladesh lost their lives. One of the brands that was making in the Rana Plaza building at the time was Primark, who have recently announced the launch of a new circular denim collection.

What Is Primark’s Circular Collection?

The fast fashion brand’s new clothing range is made with denim from woven from cotton from their Sustainable Cotton programme, and according to the press release, has been designed to last and to be recycled at the end of its (hopefully long) life.

Whilst Primark is running a take back scheme, and free repair workshops to encourage its customers to keep clothing for longer, my concern is where are these jeans, which sell for £13 and upwards, being made? And where does this collection fit in with the rest of Primarks clothing offer? If this collection is ‘designed to last’, does that mean the rest of it is still designed to fall apart?

Primark's Circular Denim Collection
Primark’s new ‘circular denim collection’ is being retailed from £13

What’s The Issue?

The Primark business model is based on selling a high volume of product at rock bottom prices. And I actually find their jumping on the bandwagon talking about jeans made to last an insult to all of the UK-made brands who genuinely do make jeans that will last you a lifetime. If I was Hiut Denim, HebTroCo, Dawson Denim, or any of the other quality jeans brands, I’d actually be really insulted by Primark’s press coverage blagging about ‘designed to last denim’

UK Denim Brands - UK Manufacturing Made to Last Products, clothing made to last
From jean manufacturing in the UK top left to bottom right: HebTroCo, Dawnson Denim, United Overalls and Hiut Denim

Thoughts British Brands

In fact, when we posted about this on Instagram, many of our followers were equally as stunned by this latest bit of greenwashing by the fast fashion retailer. Scultura Activewear said “What chance to truly sustainable brands have against these giant brands?’. Baux and Bone said “greenwashing at its very worst” and United Overalls, who make jeans in the UK which come with free repairs for life, said “Big corporations like these ones don’t really care about making any of their products to last as you can’t at that price point”.

Miss Fortune said “it’s offensive, quite frankly” and Pesky Partridge thought it was “all a load of the dog’s whatsits!” – exactly!

If you want to dive into the conversation on social media, your can find the Linkedin post from the Chief exec of Primark here, and my Instagram post about it here. You can also listen the my podcast about it here.

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