You can cross off one thing from your European shopping trip — visiting Primark. The Dublin-based clothing retailer plans to open several U.S. stores by the end of the year into 2016. They include outposts in Boston, King of Prussia, PA, Freehold, NJ, Willow Grove, PA, Danbury, CT and Staten Island, NY.
Never heard of Primark or seen their plain brown bags being held by Russian or Japanese tourists? Well, if you love cheap, trendy clothes along the lines of H&M, Uniqlo or Zara, than you have another place to satisfy your impulse buying.
When you’re gallivanting though Dublin, London, Edinburgh or the other 250 European locations, you’re bound to pass by their store fronts. When you go through the aisles, you’ll be astonished by the variety of styles and the insanely low prices. £2.50 for a Union Jack t-shirt. £28 for a black blazer. £12 for dress shoes.
As I say when something is this cheap, it’s cheap for a reason. There’s some factory in a remote third world country where the workers are sewing away in deplorable conditions and getting paid very little.
But go ahead and shop. What can you do?
Expect long lines and general chaos at the first U.S. store opening in Boston, which is scheduled for September. When Top Shop/Top Man came to Manhattan, the lines ran around the block. I can’t wait for the fashionistas of Manhattan and Brooklyn trying to get to the Staten Island store. “We have to take the ferry? OMG”
The point of stores like Primark is to sell you clothes that look off the runway again and again. You buy something one year and it’s immediately out of style the next, so you go back and buy something else. Stock is constantly being updated. It’s a smart racket for people dumb enough to waste money of fast fashion.
I’ve fallen for it myself. I look at my too-full closet and realized I spent a lot of money of clothes that I’ve worn once or twice. The amount of money I could have saved from avoiding buying more clothes I don’t need makes me angry. It couldn’t have funded another trip.
In the end, Primark will be an interesting curiosity in the States. If you pass by one in London, just keep on walking. You’ll be able to get the same stuff here eventually.