Killer jeans quite literally kill! Workers die from sandblasting jeans to give them that faded, worn look.
You can of course get the same look by buying faded second hand jeans, but that does not line the pockets of the greedy fashion industry.
Therein lies the difference between fast fashion and slow fashion. One is driven by greed, the other concerned with sustainability, where clothes come from, how they are made and the impact on people and planet.
In Bangladesh many sweatshops exporting jeans for brands including Levis, Lee, Diesel and Zara continue to sandblast and put workers’ lives at risk.
One factory owner stated that it was impossible to produce some of the designs requested without the use of sandblasting. Indeed workers told researchers from Labour Behind the Label that they are told to switch to using sandblasting, even if a buyer has said it is not be used, if they are too close to production deadlines. Others stated that production was often carried out at night to avoid detection by inspectors and auditors.
Workers interviewed suffered from constant coughing and breathing difficulties. They were using old machinery, and were forced to work up to twelve hours a day in dusty, poorly ventilated rooms, without adequate health and safety protection. Most interviewed had colleagues who had fallen ill.
There is a lack of medical care provided to workers and they face difficulties in getting adequate diagnosis and treatment, in part because of the low awareness of the issue among medical professionals.
This is not acceptable. More has to be done to ensure that brands take action to end all forms of sandblasting.