ITALY: Versace bans sandblasting after Facebook campaign
Italian fashion house Gianni Versace is to ban its clothing suppliers from using sandblasting, a technique used to give jeans a used look which is highly dangerous to workers, after a sustained campaign by activists on the company's Facebook page.
More than 1,200 people from all over the world joined the two-month campaign which was led by the Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) on the social action platform Change.org.
"Following recent CCC 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," said Versace's Tomaso Galli in a letter to Change.org.
"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."
Galli said that any supplier found using sandblasting as a production technique "will be considered in breach of contract and dismissed accordingly."
Sandblasting is a process by which workers fire sand under high pressure at jeans. It has been known to kill workers in garment producing countries like Turkey and Bangladesh, where jean sandblasting is done manually.
The large amounts of silica dust generated during sandblasting can cause silicosis, a potentially lethal pulmonary disease, as workers inhale tiny particles of silica.
"What has happened here is incredible," said Meredith Slater, an organiser with Change.org.
"Versace customers called on the company to ban a practice that endangered workers, and the company responded by saying that it would not only ban the practice, but stand up for the elimination of sandblasting throughout the industry."
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