Vecchiano, Italy - The Italian fashion house Giorgio Armani SpA has pledged to eliminate the practice of sandblasting jeans from their supply line, a highly dangerous technique used to give jeans a used look.
The decision comes after a long campaign by the Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) and a petition hosted by Change.org calling on Armani to ban the practice.
CCC is an alliance of organisations in 15 European countries dedicated to improving working conditions and empowering workers in garment industries worldwide.
Sandblasting, a process that involves workers firing sand under high pressure to give jeans a 'worn' look, is known to cause silicosis, a potentially lethal pulmonary disease.
This practice has been linked to the deaths of workers in garment producing countries like Turkey and Bangladesh, where sandblasting is done manually.
"What has happened here is incredible," said Meredith Slater, an organiser with Change.org.
"People from all over the world came together to ask Armani to eliminate a practice that endangered workers, and the company responded by saying it would ban sandblasting immediately."
Armani's move, which starts from its autumn-winter 2011/2012 collection, places it in the ranks of renowned fashion houses such as Gucci, Versace, H&M and Levis, which have made similar pledges to ban sandblasting from their product lines.
This is expected to increase pressure on Dolce & Gabbana, which has to date refused to take a similar stance. A mirror campaign against Dolce & Gabbana has collected more than 38,000 supporters around the world.