Versace denies Greenpeace claim on toxic clothes

Italian fashion house insists its garment-makers apply standards stricter than EU regulations

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 20 February, 2014, 9:38pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 20 February, 2014, 9:38pm

Italian fashion house Versace complied with EU regulations on textile production, it said after environmental campaign group Greenpeace alleged that it had found traces of harmful chemicals in its children's clothing.

"Gianni Versace operates in compliance with current laws regarding textile products," the firm said on Wednesday.

Versace added 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 said in a report issued on Monday just before Milan Fashion Week that it had found traces of waterway pollutants in children's clothing and shoes made by several luxury brands, including Versace.

The campaign group raised a banner that read, "Beautiful fashion, ugly lies", in a famous Milan shopping centre on Wednesday, as the city's biannual women's fashion week started.

Versace said it had put in place a system of mapping and selecting its suppliers based on "rigorous" production standards outlined in European Union Regulation 1907/2006.

Greenpeace has been campaigning against pollutants used in the textile industry since 2011. It has persuaded some 20 brands to take part in its "Detox" pledge, but only two luxury names - Britain's Burberry and Italy's Valentino - have signed up so far.

The group found the pollutants in products from Dolce & Gabbana, Giorgio Armani, Versace, Hermes, Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton and Marc Jacobs.

Concerned about toxicity to aquatic organisms and the fact that some products do not biodegrade easily, the EU has restricted the industrial use of some of these chemicals, but there are no rules on the sales of textiles containing their residues.

Greenpeace said 12 of the 27 articles it tested contained residues of nonylphenol ethoxylates, which can break down into hormone-disrupting chemicals when released from garments during washing. In five items, the group found per- and polyfluorinated chemicals, used to make garments water repellent. Five articles tested positive for phthalates, used in printing designs on clothing, and three for antimony, used to manufacture polyester.

The chemicals Greenpeace tested for have been commonly used in textile manufacturing, but are being phased out by some brands because of concern about their polluting impact.

Armani said its products were "absolutely safe for consumers". Louis Vuitton said all its products fully complied with international environment and safety standards. The other firms had no immediate comment.