This afternoon I ducked into Primark as I was going in to see what the hustle and bustle is all about. See the picture above which I believe accurately captures the chaos (or do I even need to remind you about the stampede on the day the store opened?). Actually…check out this video before we talk about anything else. This is the scene on the opening day of Primark Oxford Street and it will blow your mind:
My god….moving on…
You see, I’m not a Primark hater. Trust me, there are a lot of people out there in the fashion world that absolutely despise the chain and believe that it brings fashion to a new low. I believe the absolute opposite and believe it, or not, this is a post that is pro-Primark. Just work with me here instead of instantly closing the window.
Most of us can remember a time when we did not have a paycheck to buy clothes with. If we were lucky we got an allowance from mom and dad or worked a weekend job for some extra money to buy the latest trends in fashion. That was the nineties for me and I can remember reading about all of the latest trends in American Vogue, British Vogue and French Vogue. At the time I lived in Charlotte, North Carolina and everyone my age wore either Gap or Abercrombie. As you can imagine, I didn’t have much to work with and the cheapest article of clothing you could get at the gap was about $12.99. I dreamt of the days I could make it up to New York City and spend hours exploring the aisles of Saks Fifth Avenue. With so little money I had to do what I could with the clothing available to me to look as much the style diva as I could…it was difficult (unless I risked diving into my mom’s designer duds)! Which brings me to why I love Primark…
Forget the fact that you are mostly getting elbowed by women aged 30-45 and look around you in Primark. Watch the girls that are 14-21 who have a miniscule amount of money in their pockets but have a dream to look like Gisele Bundchen in the latest military theme photo shoot in Vogue. I love watching their faces as they pair things together or discover a jacket that is more or less a Balmain rip off and available to them for a tenner. They are given the freedom to be creative with fashion and to look amazing. They are given this freedom because Primark keeps their prices next to nothing. Yes, the clothing is horrible quality. But the clothing lasts as long as the trend….about two weeks to a month. That’s how long most of these girls keep these dresses, skirts or ripped up shirts anyway.
I think designers should actually be pleased that stores such as Primark exist because they allow girls to indulge fashion addictions early in life. The addiction grows as they grow and as their paychecks increase their tastes mature. They will move down the street from Primark to Selfridges and buy Halston or Gucci because what they really want is the quality. It’s not until many of us are adults that we truly appreciate the quality of a garment. When I first stole a Ralph Lauren Handknit sweater from my mother’s closet I had no idea why it was so special or any idea of the time that went into designing and creating the garment. I simply thought the sweater looked “cool”.
So let’s not be so quick to put down Primark. Instead I think we should embrace it as part of the “fashion circle of life.”
But just a word of warning ladies. If you have never been to the Primark on Oxford Street, please be careful! It is scary in there and if you are claustrophobic I wouldn’t recommend the Oxford Street location at all! Women can get pretty crazy when they shop and even crazier when they realize there is only one size eight breton shirt left in the pile!