Artistic Milliners is expanding its presence in Pakistan with a new $60 million state-of-the-art facility that follows through on its values. At full capacity, the 500,000-square-foot facility will employ 3,500 workers—70 percent of which will be women—and boost production capacity by 30 percent.
Already in operation and shipping product, the factory will be able to produce 600,000 pieces per month, totaling 43.2 million pieces per year. It’s expected to reach full capacity by the first quarter of 2023. With digitized processes, the factory is aligned with supply chain 4.0 principles that keep it at the forefront of innovation.
The facility is part of the company’s nine-acre AM-4 apparel park in Karachi, which employs more than 10,500 workers.
“The opening of this facility is an opportunity to put into practice our vision for the future of apparel production,” said Murtaza Ahmed, Artistic Milliners managing director. “We see this as a model factory, one where the latest technological innovations in efficiency and sustainability meet the best employment practices in terms of women’s empowerment and well-being.”
With this kind of scale, the company’s commitment to sustainability is more important than ever. The facility is LEED Platinum certified, the highest level currently attainable, and features 850KW solar panels. Advanced membrane bioreactor (MBR) water recycling technology increases the company’s daily water recycling capacity to 1.5 million gallons, helping it achieve its water recycling goal of 90 percent.
It also uses ZDHC-certified chemicals and has achieved Higg FEM 3.0, ISO 14001:2015 and Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certifications.
With this facility, Artistic Milliners is putting a spotlight on women workers. It’s equipped with on-site daycare and employee training facilities in line with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) Family Friendly Program, an initiative for increasing the number of women in the workforce. The company plans to employ women in non-traditional roles such as dry processing and pressing.
Artistic Milliners has a legacy of elevating women, with Ahmed named of one Financial Times’ “50 Global Male Champions of Women in Business” list in 2018 for providing benefits like literacy programs and employee training for women. At the time, half of Artistic Milliners’ top management was female. Last year, the company partnered with fashion brand partner Bestseller to roll out HERessentials, a pilot program from global nonprofit BSR, the organization behind HERproject, a collaborative initiative that strives to empower low-income women working in global supply chains. The program aimed to help women within Artistic Milliners’ factories develop “adaptive capacity,” or the social and technical skills needed to respond to environmental and socioeconomic changes, in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.
With a workforce of 3,500, the new facility follows the highest safety standards, and features a fully automated fire protection and detection system. It was designed in accordance with seismic standards to protect the workers and prevent structure damage in event of an earthquake. Added benefits include free on-site lunch and transportation, as well as a 100 percent digital wage system making payment more efficient and eliminating the physical exchange of money.
The factory is another part of the company’s expansion plans, which included the acquisition of a Los Angeles wash facility, Star Fades International, at the beginning of 2021. The facility provides U.S. customers with 360-degree design capabilities and has already launched a number of sustainably made denim collections, including Yeezy Gap Engineered by Balenciaga.
Earlier this year, the company opened Artmill to offer retailers, manufacturers and brands turnkey solutions for their casualwear programs and tailor custom offerings for startup and premium labels. The first LEED Platinum certified piece-dye mill in the region, the facility will have an annual vertical capacity of 6 million garments.