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Look out! Stop the ‘Killer Jeans’!

When I wake up in the morning light. I put on my jeans and I feel alright. I pull my blue jeans on, I pull my old blue jeans on!

 David Dunda’s jingle “Jeans on” for Brutus Jeans in 1976

Jeans are sexy, comfortable and variable. Jeans are great, however not all of them! One of the latest jeans fashion trend has been sandblasted jeans.

Sandblasting gives denim a worn, faded look which has become very popular. Beth Buczynski’s blog “Are your designer jeans making factory workers stick?” points out that during the treatment process which is normally done in factories of developing countries, silica from the sand is inhaled by the workers which increases the risk of a disabling lung disease called silicosis.

Clean Clothes Campaign against dangerous working conditions 

Beth informs that the Clean Clothes Campaign which is improving the working conditions in the global garment industry asked the fashion industry to stop sandblasting. Designers like Levi’s, H&M and C&A joined in, but others like Roberto Cavalli, Prada and Dolce & Gababana turned a blind eye to it and didn’t care as much about their employees’ health.

Sandblasted jeans do not magically appear from nowhere!

We as consumers are also in charge to act responsible! We live in an importing world and we can refuse to purchase denim or other nonorganic garment that were treated with toxic chemicals!!

Cordelia Hebblethwaite and Anbarasan Ethirajan agree with Beth and add in their BBC blog that till now 46 garment workers have died from silicosis in Turkey. The black figures are supposed to be much higher! Five years after the scandal was discovered, the Turkish government banned sandblasting. The Clean Clothes Campaign revealed that sandblasting business just moved from Turkey to other countries such as Bangladesh, China and Egypt.

If you want to see the complete list of brands that have or have not taken action on banning sandblasting, click here.

Chic but harmful!

The TV channel ARTE broadcasted a very interesting documentary “schick aber schädlich” some months ago. The video revealed the devastating working conditions in the fashion industry of the Third World. Most of the time toxic chemicals play a big role when it comes to staining which terribly damages the health of factory workers. If you want to watch the video, click here.

Sustainable Fashion – Just a dream or the future?!?

It is delightful to see that the fashion industry as well as its costumers are heading now in the right direction. Danna Worley’s blog reports that consumers are behaving more and more environment-friendly and socially conscious all over the planet. People are not only taking note of unethical business practices and destructive natural resource extraction techniques, they are also taking a stand against them. Moreover Danna claims that consumers nowadays preferred to pay higher costs to purchase an ethical and substantial product than in the past. That is one of the reasons why many companies offer now green garments.

Conscious Clothing made by H&M

The Swedish retail-clothing company H&M has started to reduce the use of hazardous chemicals in its clothing line since 1995. After Greenpeace criticized H&M for its chemical use in the past H&M recognized the importance and changed their mind. Since April 2011 H&M introduced in its stores the so-called Conscious Collection which is made out of organic cotton and recycled fibres. The interview with H&M’s trend coordinator Catarina Midby is summarized in Chiara’s blog. H&M is committed to continuously eliminate the use of all hazardous chemicals and to achieve zero discharges of such by 2020.

H&M has seven commitments they want to achieve:


Not only H&M, also other companies like Nike, C&A, PUMA or adidas are on board and produce more and more substantial and organic garments. The advantage for these companies besides having a clear conscience is that they are also improving their branding and image and are gaining new customers.

What are in your opinion the main reasons for companies to produce ethical & organic clothing?

See u soon!


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  1. Nice blog post Kathrin! The topic you have chosen really appeals to me as I am a big fan of jeans. As you’ve mentioned- jeans are just gorgeous, comfortable and at the same time so fashionable and sexy. Furthermore, the problems depicted in your article was very informative for me. Now, after having read this blog post, I am aware of the great dangers caused by the production of sandblasted jeans and will try to avoid those in the future.
    I appreciate the fact that firms like H&M and C&A are producing more and more organic garments. However, I am wondering about the prices of those substantial clothing’s, respectively about the actual working conditions as the brands mentioned above normally provide clothing which is relatively cheap in comparison to others… Isn’t it in a way contradictory then? How can these firms offer high quality and “clean” clothing at low prices?…

  2. Hey Katharin,
    Great post! I was just scrolling all the posts of your group and your blog was so attractive with that picture of jeans!
    Concerning to your question : I think the main reasons is environment protection. And it’s right! Before reading your blog I haven’t thought about how harmful jeans could be for the environment… I often see clothes with an “organic label” in the shops but it haven’t influenced my decision before-to buy or not to buy it but your post let me really think about that. Next time I’ll go to the shop, the way of production the clothes I’m going to buy won’t be so unimportant for me! Thank you for letting me think about our environment!
    I’m looking forward to read your next posts)

  3. oh cool, this information is really useful and definitely is comment worthy! hehe. I’ll see if I can try to use some of this information for my own blog. Thanks!

  4. vikii

     /  December 7, 2011

    Hey Kathrin!

    First of all great blog post! I really like the way you write. I think it is good that you chose that subject because I am afraid that most of the people are not aware of it at all. Especially in Turkey cheap jeans are produced and the workers are totally exploited, mainly it is their health that suffers most. It is not ethical at all..we buy cheap jeans that basically make other people sick.
    The main reasons for companies to create organic clothes is of course a marketing strategy focusing on the target group that is aware of that issue, who is ready to pay more for fashion if it is produced in an environmentally friendly manner, offering their workers human working conditions that do not harm their health.
    Besides, I totally share Bozzena’s and Lanny’s views.
    Additionally, I would like to let you and your group know that your blog design is very attractive to me and I also like the layout you chose! Great job!

  5. Hey Kathrin!
    I think the world is becoming more and more aware of what actually harms us and our planet and what is good for us, which is why things like ethical and organic clothing are becoming more and more popular. Companies therefore have to of course adapt to these developments in order to keep their customers.
    I really liked your post because it informed me about stuff I had not known before! I think it’s awesome what H&M is doing. I would not have thought that, after having heard so much negative things about them…
    I don’t really understand why cheap labels like H&M and C&A manage to join the initiatives while expensive fashion labels like Prada and D&G don’t. For them it should be much more “easier”, shouldn’t it? It kind of seems paradox to me…
    Anyways, great post! Keep going :)!

  6. I’ve enjoyed reading this post and the many thoughtful, supportive comments, thanks!

  7. Can I just say what a reduction to search out someone who really is aware of what theyre talking about on the internet. You undoubtedly know how to deliver a difficulty to mild and make it important. More individuals must read this and perceive this aspect of the story. I cant believe youre no more standard because you undoubtedly have the gift.

    • Ooops! Kathryn! You are being spammed, the Milton Bohmer comment is spam, too, and you can mark it as spam so that this name will be blocked by wordpress.com from leaving other such comments.

  8. anne

     /  February 14, 2012

    very, very good intro kathrin! beginning with a quote is always catchy!
    I´ve heard about the problems with blue jeans before, but your post really added some intel. I think its a horrible thought, that workers in asia have to suffer painfull lung deseases just so we have nice, blue legs!
    what i think is more than shocking is that cheap labels like H&M or C&A are willing to pay maybe a few more production cost, to prevent wokers from suffering, but those rich and glamorous brands like cavalli, prada and D&G are not?? I mean what the hell? they have more than enough money to spend and could easily offer some health improvement for their workers. what´s with corporate socail responsibility??
    thank you for the list of brands that have or have not taken action on banning sandblasting, I will definitely be more careful about chosing my next jeans!
    really great post!

  1. Does a company well, by doing good? « A Global Love

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