“Why are people queuing outside Primark?” I asked a friend during a Sunday shopping trip a few weeks ago.
Is something happening? A new collection? Is the ultimate Christmas jumper being unveiled?
No, they were just queuing. Tourists and locals alike. Taking pictures outside those renowned flagship doors. The ‘bargain’ shop now internationally famous thanks to hundreds of ‘Primark hauls’ featured on YouTube, or Primarni, as it’s known to its legions of adoring fans.
The fashion world seems perpetually divided between Primark snobs (hi, nice to meet you) and crazed devotee’s (see image above), so you would be forgiven for thinking this article is just your typical rant over the unethical manufacturing methods used abroad by penniless workers as is the usual slant to such negative opinion regarding the brand. But mine is more of a statement of curiosity and bemused intrigue rather than a deep political stance over ethics. Is there really any satisfaction in buying so much so cheap, only to dispose of it with such abandon a few months later or less?
A shiny new Primark just opened in my local town, opening at 9am and closing at 9pm, a shop so hectic ‘queue signs’ were considered necessary, and extra staff to hold them – the latter of which has turned what used to be a relatively quiet (in comparison) city into a bustling hub of brown paper bags. And then there’s the mess. The unspoken assumption that cheap deserves zero respect and in turn breeds chaos. I want to delve into those unmistakable brown paper bags and discover what exactly is turning customers into starry eyed zombie shoppers; a distinct characteristic that seems to overcome people upon entering.
These reflections come before news that today Primark will unveil its first womenswear concession in the Manchester Trafford Centre Selfridges store. The range will showcase two hundred of its most fashion forward items from the latest winter collection and key pieces from its Limited Edition campaign.
A Primark spokesman said the collection will ‘combine directional clothing and accessories with affordable prices, the winter range is a true party season collection with a rich palette of gold and black decorating peplum dresses and sharp tailoring. Soft pastel tones break up the decadent opulence, with soft blue and pink hued knitwear layered over embellished collared blouses and chiffon full-length skirts.’
It’s a confident collection, with classic collared shirts reworked in denim, LBD’s teamed with golden cuffs, and the luxurious looking gothic accessories provide a dramatic finishing touch to the surprisingly promising looking collection. Could I be swayed?