- Primark is today launching its first adaptive collection alongside commitments to drive change across its stores and business.
- An estimated 16 million people in the UK are living with a disability, yet almost two thirds say they struggle to find clothes they feel comfortable in.
- The first four-piece collection has been designed around the needs of disabled people with further launches to come.
Today, Primark has announced its ambition to make adaptive fashion more accessible and affordable with the launch of its first adaptive lingerie collection. Primark has always been about making great fashion and everyday essentials affordable to as many people as possible, and now Primark is pledging to introduce more adaptive items and apply inclusive design to more product ranges. The new four-piece collection, which will be available in selected stores, has been unveiled alongside plans from the retailer to drive change across its business and stores to better serve disabled colleagues and customers.
Around 16 million people live with a disability in the UK and, new research from Primark and the Research Institute for Disabled Consumers on disabled people’s experience of shopping and adaptive fashion, reveals that three in five (62 per cent) disabled shoppers find it difficult to find clothes that they feel happy and comfortable in because of their disability.
And although three in four (77 per cent) state adaptive clothing is essential to, or significantly improves their quality of life, only a quarter (25 per cent) currently wear it. Affordability and accessibility are key barriers for disabled people as more than a third (36 per cent) find adaptive clothing very expensive, and a quarter (24 per cent) opt to buy non-adaptive clothing and alter it for their needs instead. Nearly three in five (59 per cent) say they would be more likely to buy adaptive clothing if it was offered by mainstream retailers.
Charlie Magadah-Williams, Head of Diversity & Inclusion at Primark, said:
“Primark was founded with the ambition of making fashion more affordable for everyone, and that means representing and responding to the different needs of all our customers. As we’ve grown, our ranges have expanded and we’re proud to be taking specialist products that are typically more expensive and only available online, and offering them at affordable prices on the high street. Our first adaptive lingerie collection has been two years in the making but we’ve got big ambitions to go further. This is more than a new range for us – it’s the start of looking at how we are supporting our disabled customers and colleagues and understanding what more we can do to make Primark a more accessible place to work and shop.”
Adaptive clothing is designed around the needs of disabled people, making it more practical and comfortable, with small adaptations like easy closures, magnetic clasps and the use of materials like Velcro. This new four-piece collection is Primark’s first adaptive product range, with a commitment from the retailer for more to follow later this year. With prices ranging from £8 to £10, the lingerie is available from 2XS to 2XL.The range has been co-designed with technical specialists, is informed by the experiences and views of disabled people, and combines discrete magnetic closures with soft fabrics and feminine designs.
The range includes four lingerie items:
- Seam-free bra: Black seam-free bra featuring recycled nylon with magnetic closures at the front (£10)
- Lace bralette: Black plunging lace bralette with magnetic closures at the front (£10)
- Brief: Black brief featuring recycled nylon with magnetic closures at each side (£8)
- Period pants brief: Black period brief featuring recycled nylon with magnetic closures at each side (£10)
Heidi Williams De Rincon, Head of Lingerie Buying, said:
“Everyone should be able to buy underwear that makes them look and feel great, and I’m proud of the work that’s gone into this collection to do just that. We’ve worked to create products that combine practical features such as magnetic closures alongside beautiful feminine designs. We know there is much more we can do, but we hope this small collection will make it a little bit easier for people to access more affordable adaptive underwear on their local high street.”
The research also shows that shopping in store is often a difficult and challenging experience for disabled people, with 55% saying that they regularly avoid shopping in store as it is a difficult or challenging experience for them with their disability, highlighting the need for change right across the industry. Alongside the new adaptive lingerie collection, Primark will review its stores and operations to look at ways it can provide a better service and more welcoming experience for disabled customers and colleagues. Building on the work it has done to date, which includes working with disabled talent throughout their campaigns, offering dedicated accessible till points and fitting rooms for people with disabilities, Primark is committed to driving change across its store footprint. This will include a detailed survey of its store and office environments, a programme of work which will be carried out by leading disability organisation AccessAble, with the aim of creating a more accessible environment for customers and colleagues. The retailer is also working with accessibility specialist Dr Shani Dhanda, global disability organisation Purple Tuesday and leading business membership organisation in disability inclusion Business Disability Forum to review policies, processes and channels, enhancing its culture of accessibility throughout the business.
Dr Shani Dhanda, Accessibility Specialist said:
“Disabled people are faced with much higher unavoidable living costs, and the choices available when it comes to clothing are often limited and expensive. I regularly experience first-hand the frustration of not finding clothes that fit my body, highlighting the systemic barriers deeply embedded in our society. Brands hold a pivotal role in dismantling these barriers that profoundly impact the daily lives of disabled people. That is why I am delighted to see Primark’s dedication to inclusivity and accessibility. Their comprehensive and holistic approach is poised to address the diverse barriers faced not only by their customers, but also by their colleagues.”
Mike Adams OBE, founder of Purple Tuesday said:
“For disabled people, clothes shopping on the high street remains a challenge. Being able to access shops easily and have a choice of clothing that meets their needs is unfortunately not the norm for many disabled consumers. Purple Tuesday is an initiative that is working to improve the customer experiences of disabled people globally and across industry. We are delighted to be working with Primark as a leading high street retailer on their disability inclusion journey, supporting them to achieve their accessibility goals and remove the barriers faced by disabled people who shop with them.”
The campaign features models Emma, Glen and Tegan, with imagery shot by photographer Esme Moore.
This range is the latest as part of Primark’s commitment to supporting and empowering women, making specialised and innovative products affordable and accessible to as many women as possible. Primark’s Supporting Women for Life range includes period pants, a menopause range and post-surgery bras.
The collection is available now in 64 stores across the UK, either in store or via Click + Collect.
Read more: 5 top tips for shopping as a wheelchair user