Target: Alfonso Dolce, CEO Dolce and Gabbana
Goal: Protect workers by banning the dangerous practice of sandblasting in denim production.
Despite pressure from multiple activist groups, Dolce and Gabbana refuses to put an end to sandblasting in their jeans production, even though the company is fully aware of the very serious health risks linked to the practice. Without proper equipment and safety measures, which are often overlooked, the process of blasting denim with sand and silica powder has been known to cause a very serious and deadly respiratory disease called silicosis among apparel workers. The evidence of sandblasting’s harmful effects is so conclusive that multiple clothing brands, retailers, and even governments have banned or outlawed the process, yet Dolce and Gabbana don’t seem to consider the campaign to end sandblasting worthy of their support.
In the case of garment production, sandblasting is the process of blasting small particles of sand, silica, and crystals with compressed air onto a garment to create a distressed, worn appearance. The resulting silica particles enter the air and are subsequently inhaled by workers. Regular exposure to these conditions begins to take a very serious toll on human health, with effects varying depending on time of exposure and concentration of particles. By the time the practice was banned in Turkey in 2009, there had been approximately 46 registered silicosis induced deaths in Turkey alone, all attributed to sandblasting. In addition to its lethal effects, silica exposure has been linked to tuberculosis, cancer, and kidney damage. Many of these effects are irreversible.
Levi Strauss & CO, H&M, Versace, and Armani are top brands that have pledged to ban sandblasting in their supply chains; Target, a major retailer, no longer carries sandblasted product because of its association with workers’ deaths. The practice has been outlawed in Turkey, the United States, and many European nations. Yet, Dolce and Gabbana has failed to follow suit and give no justifiable reason for their refusal.
Please utilize your power as a consumer by signing the below petition. Demand that Dolce and Gabbana join the campaign by publicly denouncing the practice of sandblasting in garment production and banning the use of it in their supply chain.
Dear Alfonso Dolce:
Your company continues to utilize a highly dangerous method of distressing denim and has failed to adequately regulate the safety conditions of your production sites. Despite being confronted with the evidence of sandblasting’s deadly effects, you maintain that there is no need to transition to a safer means of creating the desired weathered appearance that sandblasting produces.
Your workers across the globe are regularly breathing in concentrated levels of a suspected carcinogen that causes death, disabilities, and irreversible diseases. The Turkish government outlawed the practice in 2009 after a number of garment workers died from silicosis and over a thousand others were suffering from the irreversible occupational disease.
Sandblasting is still used by thousands of apparel workers in Bangladesh, Mexico, Egypt, and China, often without adequate safety regulations. Top brands like Armani and Versace have publicly banned sandblasting, an action that improved their public image while adding momentum to the much needed campaign to stop this deadly practice.
Please, join your peers within the high fashion industry who have spoken out in support of their workers across the globe. These young garment workers have few professional options and deserve a safe working environment. Help us put an end to sandblasting.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: saksfifthavenue.com