COVID-19 isn’t stopping the ambitious plans founder and chief executive Sanjeev Bahl has for Saitex in 2020.
In an interview with Kingpins podcast host and fashion journalist Alison Nieder, Bahl said a new factory in Los Angeles is expected to be fully operational by either Q3 or Q4 of this year.
This is big news both for the manufacturer and the denim industry as a whole, as the facility is positioned to be the “factory of the future.”
“Everything we’ve incubated in terms of technology, robotics, artificial intelligence and digital assets is being deployed in that factory,” said Bahl. “It’s an experiment, and I hope that experiment works.”
Known as the “cleanest denim factory in the world,” Saitex has a reputation for responsibility—one that it carries from seed to shelf. Its Vietnam factory, which runs on clean and renewable energy, is the first in Asia to achieve B Corp status. It turns sludge into non-hazardous waste and recycles 98 percent of the water it uses—and even air dries denim to drastically reduce energy usage. In the design stage, it uses innovative laser treatments and ozone washing.
Brand partners include ethically driven companies such as G-Star Raw and Madewell.
In addition to a new factory, Saitex also plans on opening a mill in Vietnam, which is also expected to open in Q3 or Q4.
“We’re still staying on plan, and it’s pretty ambitious, but hopefully we cross the finish line,” said Bahl. “I think 2020 is a reset year, but [we can’t] walk away from the future. Let’s reset everything that we have on our plate and get ready for 2021.”