Versace is finally putting the kibosh on sandblasting its jeans. After two months of pressure from the Clean Clothes Campaign and Change.org, the Italian fashion house has officially banned the deadly production technique, which involves firing tiny particles of silica at high pressure to give denim a worn and faded appearance. Inhaled, the large amounts of silica dust can result in silicosis, a pulmonary disease that’s potentially fatal. More than 1,200 international activists protested the practice in an online petition. A few even led Versace to shut down its Facebook wall for a time.
The speed at which everything came together is an encouraging example of how the Internet is changing the face of activism—and the world. In a letter to Change.org, Versace spokesman Tomaso Galli conceded to the campaign’s argument.
Versace will consider suppliers who sandblast in breach of contract and dismiss them accordingly.
“Following more-recent Clean Clothes Campaign’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,” he said. “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.”
In accordance with the ban, Versace will consider suppliers who sandblast in breach of contract and dismiss them accordingly. The luxury label now joins the likes of H&M, Levi’s, and Gucci in denouncing the technique.