Versace Bans Sandblasted Jeans, Double Win for Activists and Garment Workers
Photo: ishane, Creative Commons
Thanks to pressure from activists, Versace is banning "killer" sandblasted jeans. This news comes after a two-month campaign by the Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) on Change.org where more than 1,200 people from around the world signed a petition urging the Italian fashion house to ban the dangerous technique, which is used to give jeans a "worn" look.
Petition screenshot. Photo: courtesy Change.org
Versace joins Levi's, H&M;, C&A;, and Gucci in banning the sandblasting process that involves workers firing sand under high pressure at jeans. Workers are exposed to silica, which can cause silicosis, a potentially lethal pulmonary disease. Workers in Turkey and Bangladesh have been killed as a result of this process.
Versace was not using sandblasting before the campaign, according to a Versace spokesperson, however, they have decided to "take a stand" against the practice. Any supplier found to be employing sandblasting as a production technique "will be considered in breach of contract and dismissed accordingly," said Versace's Tomaso Galli in a letter to Change.org. He continues, below.
Following more recent CCC's comments on Versace's practices, the company decided to study the issue in depth again and concluded, in agreement with CCC, that it is appropriate to take a proactive stance, and stand against the practice of sandblasting. Versace has specifically asked every supplier (and will ask any new supplier as a condition to work with Versace) to certify that they are not using sandblasting.
The ban is a double win for activists who swarmed their Facebook page, causing it to shut down and garment workers. Hopefully more fashion brands will follow suit.
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