The Pakistan-based denim mill announced that Bestseller, its longtime brand partner and owner of fashion labels such as Jack & Jones, Vero Moda and Only, has joined the initiative to commercialize indigenous organic cotton in the country’s Baluchistan region and add transparency to the value chain.
Milliner Cotton Organic was established in 2020 as a pilot program promoting visibility and workers’ rights throughout the entire scope of the cotton supply chain, from picking to spinning. Developed in partnership with WWF Pakistan and the Government of Baluchistan, the program satisfies 13 of the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and especially benefits cotton pickers—often women—who, through the program, are able to access life skills training and better picking resources.
The program’s emphasis on fiber traceability is reportedly what interested the Bestseller team, as the company recently launched its own experimental sustainability platform, Fashion FWD Lab. Together, the companies are working with blockchain-based traceability technology to implement processes that eliminate loopholes from the value chain.
“In Bestseller’s Fashion FWD Lab, we aim for visionary collaborations exactly like this one, and we wanted to help them scale it up and bring it to a point where it not only meets all global standards of certified organic cotton but has also an added element of data-driven traceability in it,” said Camilla Skjønning Jørgensen, the company’s sustainable materials and innovation manager. “At the same time, Bestseller and Artistic Milliners wanted to ensure a direct-to-farm approach where we can improve and demonstrate the business case for the organic cotton farmers and suppliers—making this endeavor wholesome for the entire community.”
The partnership arrives as an increasing number of consumers and partners turn to blockchain for better transparency into the cotton supply chain. The Denim Deal, a Netherlands-based initiative focused on circular denim production, recently partnered with Aware, a tracer and blockchain technology that can distinguish false material from genuinely sustainable fabric with a simple scan.
Bestseller is providing funding for the Milliner Cotton Organic initiative and in return will have access to a portion of the cotton. The first crop will be harvested in September, and according to Omer Ahmed, Artistic Milliners CEO, farmers are already seeing the benefits.
“Pakistan’s organic cotton sourced via Milliner Cotton Organic is being grown in one of the most underdeveloped communities,” he said. “With long-term pre-orders for their cotton, the farmers are seeing a new ray of light. The entire community will prosper.”