After Greenpeace alleged that it found traces of hazardous chemicals in Versace’s children’s clothing, the couture retailer announced that it is now in compliance with the European Union’s regulations regarding the production of textiles.
Just in advance of Milan Fashion Week, Greenpeace released a report that claimed hazardous chemicals were detected in children’s clothing and footwear distributed by several major brands. The apparel examined included fast fashion, sportswear and luxury brands as well.
Versace quickly responded, claiming it “operates in compliance with current laws regarding textile products.” The high-end retailer also said that it “continues to search for raw materials and eco-sustainable technology solutions, with even stricter requirements than those set out under the current laws, renewing its commitment to the sustainability of the planet.”
Greenpeace has been conducting its own studies of apparel, especially children’s wear. Greenpeace agents purchased a wide variety of children’s textile products, eighty-two samples in total, in May and June of 2013. The apparel was found in twenty-five different countries and manufactured in twelve more. Then, they were shipped to the Greenpeace Research Laboratories at the University of Exeter in the UK and, from there, they were sent to a variety of laboratories that specialize in hazardous chemical detection. All products were scientifically tested for nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs); some but not all were also assessed for phthalates, organotins, and poly-fluorinated chemicals (PFC). These are chemicals that “can have adverse impacts either on human reproductive, hormonal or immune systems.”
The offending brands included American Apparel, C&A, Disney, GAP, H&M, Primark, and Uniqlo. Sportswear brands found to contain one or more of the chemicals tested for include Adidas, LiNing, Nike, and Puma. The luxury brand Burberry also had some apparel test positive for hazardous chemicals. All of the apparel selected and tested was intended for use by children.
The investigation and subsequent report are part of the Detox Campaign, an effort that has recruited more than half a million volunteers to advocate for clean water and toxic free fashion. So far, eighteen major fashion retailers have officially joined the campaign: Nike, Adidas, Puma, H&M, M&S, C&A, Li-Ning, Zara, Mango, Esprit, Levi’s, Uniqlo, Benetton, Victoria’s Secret, G-Star Raw, Valentino, Coop, and Canepa. Greenpeace is still trying to sign on The Gap Inc., Calvin Klein and Abercrombie & Fitch.
Versace contends that it selects its suppliers using a “rigorous” process based on E.U. regulations.