Three of Italy's best-known fashion houses are being accused of refusing to stop selling "killer jeans" that threaten the lives of workers in the countries where they are produced.
The Clean Clothes Campaign began pressing in February for leading fashion manufacturers and retailers to ban sandblasting, a technique for producing denim garments with an artificially worn look. The large amounts of silica dust produced can lead to silicosis, a potentially lethal pulmonary disease.
The process was banned in Turkey in 2009 after evidence was produced to show that 46 former sandblasting operators had contracted silicosis.
Almost 34,000 people have put their names to a petition drafted by the Clean Clothes Campaign. The campaign's Italian spokeswoman, Deborah Lucchetti, said a number of well-known designers, manufacturers and retailers had already eliminated sandblasted denim clothing from their collections. They included including Levi's, H&M and C&A.
Both Gucci and Versace responded favourably. But Giorgio Armani, Roberto Cavalli and Dolce & Gabbana had not budged, he said.