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Artistic Milliners: Pakistan’s Vertical Denim Powerhouse

Since its inception in 1949, Artistic Milliners has been focused on denim innovation and sustainability, continually pushing the boundaries of what a pair of jeans can be.

Over the last nearly 70 years, the Pakistani denim mill has become a fully vertically integrated operation with the ongoing goal of providing high-end customers with premium quality denim fabrics and garments. Today, Artistic Milliners employs roughly 16,000 people with representative offices in seven different cities across the globe and its global headquarters in Karachi, Pakistan.

Ebru Ozaydin, director of sales and marketing at Artistic Milliners, discussed the company’s production capabilities, product development and sustainable manufacturing processes.

Denim fabric mill
For one, Artistic Milliners has no small impact on the denim sector.

“With a capacity of 5.3 million pounds per month, our state-of-the-art spinning facility, Artistic Milliners denim fabric mill is proficient in running different fiber blends, like cotton and nylon, cotton and Tencel, cotton and polyester, and conventional cotton with recycled cotton fibers due to a flexible Blow Room separation feature,” Ozaydin explained.

Producing 9 million meters of fabric per month, the weaving facility is fully equipped for different fabric ranges from 5 ounce to 15 ounce weights.

With one of the largest dye ranges in Asia and production upward of 6 million meters per month, Artistic’s dyeing facility is capable of producing deep shades of indigo and other variations. It includes state-of-the-art mercerizing, coating, calendaring and finishing machines.

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With a capacity of 1.8 million garments a month, Artistic Milliners’ garment factories are equipped with modern automated machines and functions capable of producing a variety of finished goods.

“Every season, Artistic Milliners launches advanced concepts that are a brilliant mix of the latest fashions and styles with advanced technological innovation,” Ozaydin said. “Inspired by emerging fashion trends, they are designed to fulfill the most demanding aesthetic and functional needs of different customers.”

Dubai Research and Innovation Centre
In order to maintain its cutting edge offering, Artistic Milliners has established a Research and Innovation Centre in Dubai to offer an opportunity to its customers and partners to stay a step ahead of the market, interpret upcoming trends and bring their creative visions to life.

“Artistic Milliners conducts several workshops and training sessions every year with the world’s leading chemical vendors, laundries and machine manufacturers,” Ozaydin said. “In our design and innovation lab in Dubai, G2 waterless washing machines, robotic sprays and laser technology add an innovative and sustainable edge to our washing facilities. The chemicals used in fabric production and garment manufacturing and washing are certified, most of them by GreenScreen or BlueSign.”

Sustainability & CSR
Artistic Milliners’ commitment to leadership in sustainability is deeply embedded in its values, Ozaydin said, adding that maintaining a balance between economic success, protection of the environment and social responsibility has been fundamental to its corporate culture for decades.

As such, the company has forayed into a closed loop denim project with global solutions provider I:CO, making it the first denim fabric and garment manufacturer in Pakistan to embark on this kind of circularity mission.

“The closed loop denim provides the basis for the sustainable, economic solution of the future–the circular economy–and Artistic Milliners is proud to be contributing with approximately 1 million meters per month of closed loop denim manufacturing,” Ozaydin said.

As the core of denim manufacturing, indigo dyeing remains the most water and chemical intensive process, she noted. Artistic Milliners has developed a new technology together with DyStar and G-Star Raw that significantly reduces the environmental impact of indigo dyeing. “Crystal Clear,” as the technology is called, uses 70 percent less chemicals and it’s a salt-free dyeing process. This helps to save a significant amount of water and reduces the load on the effluent treatment plant.

Artistic Milliners was also the first denim company to develop Cradle-to-Cradle Gold Certified Denim Fabric. The certified denim fabric, dubbed “Dylan,” is made from 100 percent organic cotton and produced with the Crystal Clear indigo dyeing process.

Continuing its efforts toward sustainability, Artistic Milliners is Pakistan’s First LEED Certified garment factory, consuming 31 percent less energy and 50 percent less water than conventional buildings, and diverting 95 percent of waste away from landfills compared to conventional buildings.

“Our latest endeavor, LEED Platinum, will raise our stature as envisaged in our vision,” Ozaydin explained. “Taking LEED one step further, Artistic Milliners has invested in a highly automated ‘Eco-Tech’ unit built with eco-friendly construction principles.”

Artistic Milliners’ Suppliers Code of Conduct Methodology is based on set criteria for labor conditions and workplace practices, and ratings are given according to it. The company works with Tier-1 suppliers to sign the Business Social Compliance Initiative Code of Conduct, which embeds social responsibility into the business enterprise culture.

The company’s women empowerment projects are driven by workplace equality, Ozaydin said, and an assurance that it doesn’t discriminate on the basis of gender. Currently, 60 percent of the workforce are women. In one if its new garment manufacturing units, inaugurated in 2016, 80 percent of the workforce are women. Artistic Milliners’ sales and marketing, supply chain, planning, sustainability and corporate communications departments are also all lead by women.

“The company goes a step further to help women take charge of their lives both in terms of personal development and career progress,” Ozaydin added. “At the moment, we are running three parallel life skills training programs for our women workers.”