Did activists cause Versace to shut down comments on their Facebook Page?

We woke up to an interesting email this morning (Australian time) with the subject line: Labor Rights Activists Make Versace Run and Hide on Facebook.

It claims that Versace turned off fan comments/wall posts on the their Official Versace Facebook Page, after a group of a group of activists led by the Clean Clothes Campaign wrote messages to the luxury Italian fashion house to ban sandblasting their jeans to give them a worn-in look.

Sandblasting is a process that involves workers firing sand under high pressure at jeans and has been known to kill workers in garment producing countries like Turkey and Bangladesh, where jean sandblasting is done manually. The large amounts of silica dust generated during sandblasting can cause silicosis, a potentially lethal pulmonary disease, as workers inhale tiny particles of silica.

Interestingly enough, the email mentions that brands like Levi’s, H&M and Gucci have abolished sandblasted jeans from their collections – we all know that Versace have a collection coming out in November with the Swedish high street fashion chain H&M.

“What has happened here is remarkable,” said Meredith Slater, an organizer with Change.org, the world’s fastest growing platform for social change. “Versace customers call on the company to simply follow the lead of other major clothing brands and stop seriously endangering its workers. Instead of responding to the content of that demand, the company decides to try and silence any criticism.”

“The Clean Clothes Campaign has already gotten Levi’s, H&M, C&A and Gucci to end the practice of sandblasting, and now they have launched an impressive social media campaign and recruited hundreds of supporters from all over the world to demand that Versace do the same,” Slater continued. “Change.org is about empowering anyone, anywhere to demand action on the issues that matter to them, and it has been an honor to provide a platform for the Clean Clothes Campaign’s inspiring campaign.”

It must be said that shutting down public comments for big international fashion houses is not uncommon though, the likes of Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Burberry and Gucci also have public comments turned off. Understandable given that some of those brands have almost 19 million ‘Like’s in total and a comment on their wall could be blast out to all their fans.

We’ll have to wait until its business hours in Italy to get an comment from Versace on the supposed change to their Facebook Page settings – and the sandblasted jeans issue. If anyone has screenshots of the Versace Facebook Page before the comments were switched off, we would love to see them!

If you think Versace should stop making and selling sandblasted jeans, leave your signature alongside 961 others in Change.org’s petition to Versace, telling people to “stop buying Killer Jeans”.