The ban follows the Clean Clothes Campaign’s two-month drive to draw attention to the health risks the technique poses to garment workers.
‘What happened here is incredible,’ Meredith Slater, an organiser at campaign host Change.org, told WWD. ‘Versace customers called on the company to ban a practise that endangered workers, and the company responded by saying that it would not only ban the practise, but stand up for the elimination of sandblasting throughout the industry.’
To attain a distressed look in a pair of jeans, garment workers blast denim with silica sand at high pressure. Some sandblasting operators develop silicosis, a lethal respiratory disease stemming from the inhalation of silica dust.
The UK prohibited sandblasting in 1950.