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Primark rolls out repair workshops and commissions durability research

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


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Image: Primark

Fast-fashion retailer Primark is looking to educate its consumers on how to repair their clothes with a series of durability and repair initiatives to help clothes “be loved and worn for longer”.

The move is part of the retailer’s commitment to give clothes a longer life and will include scaling up Primark’s free clothing repair workshops following a 12-month pilot as well as working with sustainability campaign group Wrap (Waste and Resources Action Programme) through its Textile 2030 agreement to establish an industry-wide durability standard.

In a statement, Primark said that it is commissioning independent research to look at the relationship between price and consumer behaviour on durability to support its ambition to become a more circular business in line with its long-term sustainability strategy, Primark Cares.

According to Wrap, wearing clothes for longer can reduce the environmental impact of clothing, however, currently, there is no recognised standard for durability across the fashion industry, and Primark wants to ensure that consumers can be assured that what they buy will last, no matter how much they can afford to spend.

Primark launches new repair initiatives

To address this, Primark is working with Wrap to create a uniform standard for durability, including developing a new enhanced durability wash standard using a framework based on Wrap’s Clothing Longevity Protocol. Primark started with testing denim and, so far, 60 percent of the products tested have passed this new enhanced standard. Socks and all jersey categories across womenswear, menswear and kidswear are also being pilot tested in line with this new standard.

To understand the factors which impact how long clothing lasts, the retailer is also teaming up with environmental and behaviour change experts Hubbub and commissioning independent research with the University of Leeds School of Design to test the physical durability on a range of women’s and men’s clothing of different price points under controlled conditions.

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

Primark rolls out free clothing repair workshops

In addition, Primark is rolling out its free repair workshop programme to more stores across the UK and Ireland, including Edinburgh, Belfast, Liffey Valley and York, as well as an extensive programme of classes across Primark’s London stores during London Repair taking place week commencing March 20. Primark adds it also expects to expand its repair workshop to additional European markets.

This follows a successful pilot in 2022, where it carried out 43 repair workshops. The sessions were led by designer and fashion lecturer Lorraine Mitchell and fashion stylist Janina Gruber and covered core basic repair skills, such as sewing buttons, zips and mending tears, as well as lessons in customisation.

Lynne Walker, director of Primark Cares, said in a statement: “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.”