This shocking new video on the production of distressed jeans has been created via a collaboration between War on Want, SACOM and the Clean Clothes Campaign.
Although the video is backed by a detailed report (http://www.waronwant.org/news/latest-news/17936-the-human-cost-of-distressed-jeans) the visualisation of the dehumanising and literally toxic working conditions do justice to creating a vivid, tangible sense of the economic and biological hazards to workers in this industry.
As the research, Breathless for Blue Jeans, confirms although the chemical practice of creating jeans with the distressed look is accepted as posing significant health hazards, the process has now gone underground:
The research reveals that workers are at high risk of contracting silicosis, a deadly lung disease, while blasting abrasive sand on to denim under high pressure. Employees work in sandblasting units for up to 15 hours a day, with little or no protection. The sandblasting process is fast and cheap, and can increase product value tenfold. Although sandblasting has been banned by major brands, the practice continues behind closed doors, or through subcontracting to less traceable or illegal factories, workers commented.
Despite an awareness of the clandestine nature of this, it does not stop retailers from purchasing the garments.
|Justin Jin / Panos Pictures|