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A week in fashion: Picking on Primark

The BBC Panorma Primark exposé last night was not uncomfortable enough viewing to put off its most passionate and loyal shoppers.

Yes there were kids stitching beads and sequins in refugee camps but was there really enough squalor or shock factor to turn shoppers off Primark’s must-have £5 vest tops?

With the way household bills are rising in the UK, I doubt it.

Panorama’s programme last night disappointed me on most fronts. The programme makers missed an opportunity to bring the whole ethical sourcing debate to the fore instead choosing to pick on Primark and what it seemed to view as its unsustainable pricing. While there was clearly footage of other retailer’s garments - at one point the presenter talked in vague terms about other American and European retailers - the fact ethical sourcing is an issue facing the whole of the fashion industry from designer level to the value sector was somewhat swept under the carpet.

It will however be interesting to see if there is a short term effect on Primark’s sales and whether the BBC pricked the conscience of certain more sensitive customer types - perhaps students and the older demographic.

As for the factories featured, what happens to those workers now Primark has cut all ties?

What did you think of last night’s programme? Post your views in the comment box below.

Readers' comments (13)

  • I think Primark needs to own up to the fact that they cannot use child labour anymore, pay a decent price to the manufacturers and make sure the wages and conditions are met by their chosen manufacturers. This will mean that they will have to increase the cost of their items (i'm sure they will want to maintain their profit levels). Basically, it's just too unrealistic to charge £3 for a top that takes hours and hours handmade. Therefore, Primark is not an ethical company from the start. I will not let my brother, sister, son, daughter work in those conditions, so why allow other children? In the name of fashion? No thanks! By shopping at Primark you are condoning their practices.

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  • Once again an excellent retailer is assaulted. Where were the factory owners? where were the government officials ? What will happen to the workers now?
    Shall we move our production to Bangladesh, Vietman, China or Africa.
    We all have choice buy or not to buy. This has always been the same in India since I traded in the 60's all I saw was smiling faces!
    The streets were filthy the water was pilluted ! all because of child poverty?????? They were made an easy target. See you in Oxford Street on Saturday along with 1000's of others.

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  • Once again an excellent retailer is assaulted. Where were the factory owners? where were the government officials ? What will happen to the workers now?
    Shall we move our production to Bangladesh, Vietman, China or Africa.
    We all have choice buy or not to buy. This has always been the same in India since I traded in the 60's all I saw was smiling faces!
    The streets were filthy the water was pilluted ! all because of child poverty?????? They were made an easy target. See you in Oxford Street on Saturday along with 1000's of others.

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  • A few weeks back I bookmarked a program on tv entitled "The Devil Wears Primark" hosted by Alexa Chung which also focussed on "fashion sweatshops" - it didn't come on, and checking the listings it appeared to have been pulled.
    Does anyone know what happened to the program? How ironic if Primark managed to get that pulled only to have even greater headlines a few weeks later.

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  • Last night's programme was interesting, but it didn't really delve deep enough into the ethical issue. It would have been good to hear some views from ethical retailers-about the difficulties surrounding sourcing..etc. The fact that Primark just dumped its suppliers is disgraceful!

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  • I think Primark got 'The Devil Wears Primark' pulled- but couldn't do the same with Panorama..oh dear!

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  • Rather than withdraw its orders from indian factories, Primark should pay fair price for make. More importantly, Primark should help the charities, organisations to help children to get education. This might help the company to clear its name...

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  • The classic phrase 'Buying into a brands values' really resonates with this expose. Will carrying an overstuffed Primark carrier be akin to walking around town waving a big flag stating ' I don't care that child, slave labour supports my shallow wants for the cheapest possible item?'. What really surprises me is that young students (an age where social conscience is at its peak) flock there and brag about their bargains.The 'uneducated' can also no longer use ignorance of the facts to justify their purchases as Panorama presented their findings in a simple, graphic way. The tide may turn very slowly, but the damage still continues.
    Sacking the factories was cowardly and spineless behaviour.

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  • Point no 2; The long term effects of the Primark business model (plus the supermarkets and other 'Value players') is the setting of such a low benchmark of price for everything. A whole generation think that £3 for a top is normal.
    We no longer sell plain tops to sell with fancy skirts etc.
    It happened almost by accident. Fancy skirt requires plain top. We can provide skirt for £30 and top for £12.
    Customer buys skirt from us but purchases plain top from Primark or M + S for £2. We lose a sale. We even provide 'trying on' plain tops now rather than waste expensive rail space on plain, basic items that are only ever tried on to balance the interesting items. These sales have gone now.

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  • Last post;Thought of the day.
    Primark; where a whole outfit costs £12 but still looks like it cost less'.
    Can't credit who said it but sums it all up really.

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