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Versace suspends Facebook page

Italian fashion house Versace has been forced to de-activate its Facebook wall after it was bombarded with messages by from activists protesting against the controversial sandblasting technique, it has been claimed.

Social change platform Change.org claims Versace has scrapped comments from its page and stopped people adding more because of its campaign to convince the brand to ban sandblasting, a technique that is used to give denim a “lived-in” look but which creates dust which is dangerous to workers.

A Versace spokeman said the decision to lock its Facebook wall, which he says happened several months ago, was taken to bring it in line with the industry standards and followed a change in Versace’s digital agency. He added the change to the site means customers can no longer post on to the wall but they are still able to comment on Versace postings, as is standard practice for a majority of branded Facebook pages.

Brands and retailers including Levi’s, Hennes & Mauritz, C&A and Gucci are understood to have already banned the technique but, so far, Versace has failed to take action despite repeated calls from international rights groups such as the Clean Clothes Campaign.

Sandblasting involves workers firing sand at garments, such as jeans, under high pressure. It has been known to kill workers in countries such as Turkey and Bangladesh, where the technique is done manually. It can also cause silicosis among workers due to the large amounts of silica dust that is inhaled during the process.

Meredith Slater, the organiser of Change.org, described Versace’s decision to stop people from leaving comments as “remarkable”. She added :“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.”

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