The Pakistani vertical denim manufacturer entered into a global production deal with Panda Biotech, a first mover in the emerging U.S. industrial hemp fiber and developer of large-scale, industrial hemp gin facilities. The partnership will combine AGI Denim’s innovative denim manufacturing technologies with Panda Biotech’s U.S.-grown industrial hemp processed and cottonized at its state-of-the-art facility.
AGI Denim is the first company to partner with Panda Biotech. With the company’s exclusive one-year deal with Panda for the Pakistan denim industry, AGI Denim expects to further scale its use of sustainable raw materials at its new facilities.
“As we transition to a future that embraces more sustainable agriculture and processing practices in textiles,” said Hasan Javed, AGI Denim executive director. “Industrial hemp can help lead the way.”
The collaboration allows both companies and their brand partners to identify, track and trace the hemp fiber as it moves along the supply chain from raw to finished goods—providing peace of mind to consumers who will know exactly where their products originate.
Traceability is core to AGI Denim’s values. The company recently announced that its new HempX material, made from a blend of organic cotton, hemp and elastane derived from recycled components, received a Cradle to Cradle Gold certification. By using Panda Biotech’s proprietary cottonization process, AGI Denim plans to utilize more environmentally friendly materials in their upcoming denim collections.
“This partnership with Panda Biotech is an excellent opportunity for AGI, and we are thrilled to be working with a team of people who share the same passion for sustainability within the industry that we do,” Javed said. “What we found most compelling about this ground-breaking, female-led company is the traceability angle that goes right back to the American farmer. Given hemp’s incredibly positive impact on the environment, we strongly believe that it is the future and the way forward.”
Though in its beginning stages, the partnership is reflective of an industry-wide shift to hemp as an alternative to virgin cotton. Often touted for its regenerative and less water-intensive properties, hemp has the potential to create more sustainable denim, and has been the focus of many recent collections, include ones by Levi’s, Wrangler and AG, as well as a new collaborative capsule collection by Lenzing.
Panda Biotech is excited about being part of this transformative change.
“The pace of fashion is unsustainable,” said Dixie Carter, president of Panda Biotech. “We are on the cusp of great change as brands and manufacturers make increasingly aggressive commitments to producing sustainable products with renewable processes. Industrial hemp will play a pivotal role in satisfying this growing market demand.”