Recent news of Versace’s sandblasting practices sparked renewed concern on the CSR of businesses in the denim industry.
We reported on Levi’s and H+M’s ban of sandblasting back in September 2010 but recently twitter and blogs are full of the topic once again. Versace was the latest company to ban the process earlier this month, following a protest group taking over their facebook page and calling for a boycott of the company’s jeans. The company said it carried out a comprehensive review of its suppliers last year and that none of them carried out sandblasting. But then stated that it had “decided to take a more proactive approach and join other industry leaders to encourage the elimination of sandblasting as an industry practice”.
The images above are provided by photojournalist Allison Joyce’s project “Fashion Victims: A Report On Sandblasting Denim“, where she documented some of the 2.2 million workers involved in the sandblasting process in Bangladesh. The images explicitly show workers without proper face protection at a denim sandblasting plant outside of Dhaka, Bangladesh. Manual sandblasting was recently banned in Turkey after it was discovered that it led to 40 deaths. Without the use of proper face protection, manual sandblasting can lead to silicosis by the inhalation of the silica dust in sand. Manual sandblasting has long been banned in many European countries and the United States, and activists are fighting to eliminate the practise all together.
We’ve also heard about Fimatex Group, a company that has invested more than 5 million euros in research and technology to establish a method of whitening denim with safe processes for workers.
The result is the eco-aging method: a blend composed of vegetable scraps that create a “worn-in” effect on denim. The solution is an insight that will revolutionize the denim abrasion technique, ensuring the highest health and safety conditions for workers. The vegetable mix is environmentally friendly and 100% biodegradable, with virtually zero environmental impact.