Pictured: “safe” jeans from H&M
We are happy about the Versace collection for H&M, but have one interesting question – will H&M stop Versace making killer jeans?
What Are Killer Jeans?
Did you already hear about the “killer jeans”? Jeans that already look nice and worn might have been done by using a sandblasting technique that is bad or lethal for the garment industry workers. No worries, all of the jeans that have the look are not done by using this technique. There are many other techniques creating similar results, such as chemical treatments, stone-washing, sandpaper, brushing or user laser. It’s pretty much impossible to spot the difference between sandblasted jeans and jeans that have been distressed using other methods.
Taking Action to Ban Sandblasting
Several brands have taken action to ban sandblasting, including H&M, but the labor activists were in rage this week and trying to get Versace’s attention and get them to ban it as well. As far as we know, Versace, Armani or D&G have taken no action despite repeated calls from international labor rights groups like the Clean Clothes Campaign and Labour Behind the Label. Hundreds of European and American activists are trying to get denim brands to ban the sandblasting technique and started a petition to stop buying Versace jeans and they even blasted so many messages on Versace’s Facebook page that they had to temporarily shut their Facebook page down.
What is Sandblasting and who uses it?
According to Change.org the process of sandblasting involves workers firing sand under high pressure at jeans and has been known to kill workers in garment producing countries like Bangladesh, where jean sandblasting is done manually. The large amounts of silica dust generated during sandblasting can also cause silicosis, a potentially lethal pulmonary disease, as workers inhale tiny particles of silica. Turkey outlawed the technique in 2009 and The Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI), an initiative of the Foreign Trade Association issued a recommendation for its 700+ retail, brand and importing member companies to ban the potentially harmful practice of sandblasting in their supply chains in May, 2011.
Brands with No Killer Jeans
There are several designer brands that don’t want to publicly make commitment to a ban, or announce they will stop sandblasting, and at this moment after my online search I don’t really have detailed information which all brands might be using this technique. The good news is that several major brands like Levi’s and H&M have already abolished sandblasted jeans in their collections. H&M and Levi’s took a more visible initiative last fall and banned the technique from their collections and they teamed up with the International Textile Garment & Leather Workers’ Federation to fight the use of sandblasting across the garment industry.
International labor rights group Clean Clothes, which started a large campaign to ban sandblasting says the following brands have already banned the sandblasting or never allowed the usage of the technique: Adolfo Dominguez, Axstores, Bestseller,C&A, Carrefour, Carrera, CoolCat, El Corte Inglés, Esprit, Fabric Skandinavien, G-Star, Gina Tricot, S. Oliver, Gucci, H&M, IC Campanys, Inditex, Kuyichi, Levi-Strauss & Co, Lee, Promod, RnB Retail, S. Oliver, Scotch & Soda, Tiger of Sweden, WE, Whyred, Varnergruppen, and Wrangler.
Check out the safe jean selection at H&M.
source: Financial ExpressLevi Strauss
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