TT – Primark

This is not a fashion blog. That becomes clear latest when you realize that my sense of fashion ends with the wish to wear pyjamas or ‘drop crotch low cut jersey pants’ (#hellofaterm) everywhere, every day, all day.

In June this year another Primark opened in Berlin, right at Alexanderplatz. In Hamburg we did not have a Primark but I in one of the visits at home, I checked out the store in Hannover. It was crowded, bad air and everything looked the same. I didn’t like it.

Primark at Alexanderplatz

Now having Alexanderplatz as one of the point to change trains on my way home from work, I could not resist the urge to trace back the trail of people packed with thousands of brown paper bags with the turquoise logo. I am not gonna get into my shopping experience in detail but yes, I did buy there. The air was incredibly bad, I had a headache after 5 minutes and every single one of the thousands of teenage girls, crying kids and brabbling mums seemed to have lost any sense of kindness and awareness for their environment.

I remember telling my boyfriend after one minute in the shop, how insanely low the prices are – insanely low in a bad way. I found myself looking at shirts and dismissing the idea of buying them, because compared to other shirts, the price of 10€ seemed too much for me. Yes, I got completely sucked into the ‘Primark Experience’. Primark is a paradise for people hunting for the cheapes prices – and a hell for everyone else.

Latest since the Rana Plaza in Dhaka collapsed last year the public knows about the horrible conditions of the tailors and workers in Bangladesh. But lets not kid ourselves: We all knew before, that prices like those offered by H&M, C&A and even Zara and Mango are not combinable with a safe and fair production. Rana Plaza and the scandal about crys for help on lables sewn into Primark clothings were just a new wake up call.

The thought of buying something for a price, that makes someone, somewhere in the world suffer, didn’t leave my head. I felt bad walking around with one of those big paper bags. I was now ‘one of those’. One of the people, that don’t care about ethics and don’t have any moral consciousness.

Now there are many ways to approach this problem. I could from now on stop buying in Primark. A german documentary by the ZDF investigates the conditions under which the production of Primark take place in Bangladesh. In this documentary the trade unionist, who worked in a factory for a long time herself, declared, that the production conditions are alle the same – no matter, what brand or what shop. So being consistent with this approach would mean also to stop buying at H&M, New Yorker, C&A, Zara and Mango.

In an interview with ‘Die Zeit’ the chief of ethics (I was surprised Primark has something like this), Paul Lister, claims that “Natürlich. Die Mode von Primark ist ethisch verantwortlich hergestellt.” (Of course. The fashion of Primark is produced ethically responsible.). Now is that supposed to ease my mind, after seeing these pictures?

I am a student and an intern. My pay does not allow me to shop in boutiques. Nor does it allow me to only buy products that are for sure produced under ethnically and morally acceptable conditions. I don’t have a solution for this and I don’t claim to have one. But I believe that thinking before buying and returning to the store what you will never wear, will at least prevent the clothes to go from the production straight to the trash.

But this is not the end. I would be happy to pay 10 instead of three Euros for a T-Shirt if I only knew that the people producing it are payed appropriately, have covered by health care and don’t work under life threatening conditions. Maybe it is time for another petition?

– MM.

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