Summer dress shopping will never be the same for two women in the UK who were shopping for pretty summer dresses when they got a dose of ugly reality.
The two women didn’t know each other, but each one was shopping at the same Primark store. When they got home and decided to wear the garments, they discovered that each of the items contained a hand-sewn plea for help.
One label said ‘degrading sweatshop conditions’ while the other said ‘forced to work exhausting hours’.
Rebecca Gallagher said that the label changed the way she thinks about how her clothes and summer dresses are made.
“I was amazed when I checked for the washing instructions and spotted this label. It was stitched by hand to say ‘Forced to work exhausting hours’ and sewn in with the other normal labels. To be honest I’ve never really thought much about how the clothes are made. But, this really made me think about how we get our cheap fashion. I dread to think that my summer top may be made by some exhausted person toiling away for hours in some sweatshop abroad.”
The label she found also contained Primark addresses in Spain and also in Ireland.
— The ClothingExchange (@theclothingex) June 25, 2014
Gallagher added, “I’ve got no idea who put it there but it really took the wind out of my sails. It makes me think that it was a cry for help – to let us people in Britain know what is going on. I even rung Primark to ask them about it. But I was put on hold for 15 minutes before being cut off. I would dread to think that this might involve child labour and people’s terrible working conditions. You hear all sorts of stories about people working in sweatshops abroad – it made me feel so guilty that I can never wear that dress again.”
Rebecca Williams found the other label and she had a similar reaction. “‘I was really shocked when I saw the label saying it was degrading sweatshop conditions. I used to shop a lot at Primark but not so much now. The label has made me think about how my clothes are made. I have no idea who made the label or how it go it there – but it does make you think.”
Both women tried to contact the summer dress and clothes maker, Primark, with very little success.
She also said, ‘I tried to ring them as well but I was put on hold forever and then it just went dead. But then I heard about the other label from the same shop. I think Primark should get to the bottom of it.”
Primark has been in trouble before for these kinds of conditions, so it’s hard to believe that they’re trying super hard to improve their workers’ environment. In 2011 the collapse of a garment factory in Bangladesh killed 1,000 workers, 580 of whom were employed by a Primark supplier. The factory was found to have inferior working conditions and crowding.
Primark is going to have to do a lot better than assure those who are concerned with a weak, “We are investigating the origins of an additional label which has been found in one of our dresses and whether there are issues which need to be looked into.”
Hopefully, these hand-sewn labels will draw some heat back on Primark so that this year’s summer dress won’t be tagged with horror.
Image via Twitter