Earlier this year, ten leading garment brands and retailers signed a “Call to Action” designed to ban denim sandblasting, a hazardous process that can cause illness and even death for workers.
“Jeans are one of the most popular items of clothing and a very profitable segment of the market is for ‘distressed’ jeans,” explained Patrick Itschert, General Secretary of the International Textile, Garment and Leather Workers’ Federation (ITGLWF). “The method of choice for giving jeans a faded look is sandblasting, but it is a process which is very damaging to workers’ health. Sandblasting releases dust which, when inhaled, causes scarring in the lungs. This can cause silicosis, an incurable and potentially fatal respiratory disease.”
Most countries banned sandblasting decades ago. However, it still occurs in numerous illegal workshops, putting thousands of workers at risk –and threatening the reputation and supply chain integrity of garment brands and retailers from throughout the globe.
Initially, the Call to Action to end sandblasting was signed and supported by Aurora Fashions, Bestseller, C&A, Carrefour, Esprit, Hennes & Mauritz AB (H&M), Inditex, Karen Millen, Levi Strauss & Co. and New Look.
Now, The Independent is reporting that the Italian fashion giant Versace has also agreed to throw its weight behind the effort. From the article: (more…)