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L.A. Renaissance: SFI Looks to Reshape the Domestic Denim Market

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Star Fades International, the Los Angeles-area factory recently acquired by Pakistan’s Artistic Milliners, is building on its legacy as a longstanding laundry as it continues to serve top-tier denim brands.

“SFI is committed to the effort to bring back U.S. manufacturing and to re-establish L.A. as a denim destination,” said Omer Ahmed, chief executive officer of Artistic Milliners, and co-founder of SFI. “Our L.A. facility provides our brand partners with U.S.-based manufacturing options as well as a center for inspiration, co-creation and collaboration.”

The Commerce, Calif., laundry has a longstanding reputation for quality service, leading-edge technology and a local team with extensive denim experience. Customers can access SFI’s range of wet and dry processing capabilities, as well as sustainable finishing technologies, such as lasers, e-flow and ozone machines.

SFI’s facility is currently able to process 100,000 units per month for customers ranging from large retailers and brands to premium and designer labels. Plans are underway to increase SFI’s capacity to 300,000 units per month.

The aim is to expand SFI into a state-of-the-art facility in Los Angeles, which will bolster the local denim community, while also addressing the needs of international retailers and brands.

“At SFI, we are establishing relationships with L.A.-based stakeholders across the supply chain to be able to produce a broad range of products and cater to denim brands of all sizes,” said SFI co-founder and Artistic Milliners executive director Murtaza Ahmed. “We are also looking to maximize efficiency at SFI through Supply Chain 4.0 principles and our position as a nearshoring solution for international customers.”

This strategy and Los Angeles’ importance as a global denim hub will be discussed at an upcoming panel discussion at Kingpins24 Flash later this month. The panel, titled “SFI – Made in the USA – Denim’s Domestic Revival,” will feature Murtaza Ahmed; SFI chief operating officer Tony Rodriguez; SFI vice president of design Alaina Miller; and SFI senior technical designer Amber Isaac.

Rodriguez, Miller and Isaac are part of the growing team the Ahmeds are assembling at SFI. Rodriguez is a denim finishing expert with a long history working in the Los Angeles denim business. Miller recently joined SFI after seven years at Citizens of Humanity, most recently having served as the Los Angeles brand’s design director. Isaac has more than 14 years in the L.A. denim industry working with brands such as Guess, Lucky Brand and Dutch LLC, the owner of Joie, Current/Elliott and Equipment.

The Kingpins24 panel will explore the current state of denim production in Los Angeles, as well as how the L.A. denim business has evolved over the years. The group will also talk about 360-degree design, digital denim design and how U.S.-based denim brands approach production.

SFI is well positioned to provide quick-turn and nearshoring solutions, thanks to the offerings of parent company Artistic Milliners, the largest denim exporter in Pakistan. Based in Karachi, Artistic Milliners is a multi-faceted, vertical operation that includes spinning, fabric, garment manufacturing and finishing. Retailers, manufacturers and brands can take advantage of SFI’s turnkey solutions for their denim programs, or SFI can create custom programs for startup and premium labels.

Learn more about Star Fades International on Instagram.

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