Primark, a brand that has a bad reputation due to incredibly cheap purchasing prices and various reports that their workers’ conditions are less than ideal, has launched a surprising new skincare partnership with Fairtrade.
The new range of skincare includes everything from body butters to face cream, and is part of Primark’s wellness range launched in 2018. Although originally just a clothing brand, Primark has branched into many different areas including skincare, such as furniture and soft furnishings. This encroachment into varying aspects of consumer culture speaks to the increasing consumer demand for cheap products that have a quick turnaround time for their production and are thus very trendy. By operating in line with quick trend cycles, Primark has earned itself a reputation as the quintessential brand that comes to mind when one thinks of ‘fast fashion’.
This is why the new partnership announced this week seems so out of step with the brand’s ethos. Operating under the hashtag #PrimarkCares, the brand’s website makes claims about ‘shared goals’ and wanting to ‘provide better opportunities for farmers without a high price tag.’ However, the campaign smells something like a desperate attempt to recast the brand’s image.
Earning a rating of ‘Not Good Enough’ on Good On You, a website that allows consumers to easily check whether a brand is ethical or not, Primark is cited as not having transparent or verified labour standards, nor any evidence that they try to minimise their textile waste. Furthermore, their animal welfare policy, whilst formally aligned with Five Freedoms, appears to have little clarity on the implementation of proper practices. Ultimately, whilst perhaps a step in the right direction for a brand synonymous with improper retail practices, the partnership with Fairtrade feels like a phony attempt to make money off of people trying to be more responsible in their consumer practices.
You can read more of Em’s work on her twitter @emponcia