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Raw Denim – The Respectable and Ethical Choice

Raw denim is awesome for a number of reasons that I’m sure we’re all well aware of and would agree upon – they’re pure and virtually untouched, serve as an extension of you after much dedication, and of course just straight up look good. However, could another big reason for sporting (and supporting) raw denim be that it is simply the respectable and ethical choice?

Recently, The Telegraph published an article addressing the issue.  According to the article, the pressure group, “Labour Behind The Label” claims companies blast denim with sand in order to achieve a worn look, with the danger being that silica dust can get into the workers’ lungs, and subsequently contract silicosis.  Who’s guilty thus far? To name a few – Diesel, Asda, Matalan, and Primark.

Worker with sandblasting gun

Raw Denim - The Respectable and Ethical Choice

As the article goes on…

“Dead workers aren’t fashionable,” said Sam Maher, co-author of Labour Behind the Label’s Killer Jeans report, which will be published on Monday.

The trend for killer jeans must be phased out by companies and rejected by consumers with immediate effect.” It is also calling on retailers and brands to compensate workers who have been made ill by operating sandblasting machines in the past.

Matalan told The Telegraph that it currently uses sandblasting on some denim products. It said safety standards were constantly under review and it would “take action if necessary to protect the welfare of our suppliers’ employees”,

Asda said it was in the process of phasing out sandblasted products. “It’s our intention that there will be none on sale in our stores by the end of this year,” a spokesman said. Diesel said it would stop using sandblasting on its clothing from early next year and Next said it had stopped all new orders. Both said suppliers were required to meet safety standards. Primark said it had halted sandblasting at more than half of its previous suppliers and expected to be out of 90 per cent by the end of the year.

Primark suggested some rivals had been less than honest in their promises. A spokesman said: “A ban is only meaningful when capable of being enforced and carefully monitored. Too often companies impose bans without any real attempt to implement them properly.”

But a spokesman for international clothing workers’ union ITGLWF said: “In the space of a year workers could contract silicosis. We need to just stop this.”

The Telegraph (March 20, 2011)

So could raw denim be the “right” choice of denim?  I would say so.  The only unethical aspect of raw denim could be the high price commanded or questionable quality provided by a pair at times.  Even Google would agree with us (see below), and we all know their mantra!

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