Born and raised in the world of denim, Hasan Javed finally joined the family business in 2010 after a period studying and working in the United States. More than a decade later, Javed, now executive director at AGI Denim, is responsible for the mill’s management, marketing, research and development and finance. The family business employs 26,000 workers, operates 13 factories and produces 24 million garments and 40 million meters of fabric per year. The vertically integrated company is based in 16 locations across Karachi, Pakistan.
With a passion for innovation, Javed is paving the way for his family’s business to embrace cutting-edge technology and automation. Under his leadership, AGI Denim established what he said is Pakistan’s first LEED-certified spinning mill designed on Industry 4.0 principles. Currently, Javed is spearheading the movement for renewable energy and water stewardship at the company. These innovations include a laser finishing treatment that reduces water and chemical usage and a zero-waste water production process.
With a “keen interest” in tech startups and venture capitalism outside the denim industry, Javed said he is also playing an active part in the tech space in South Asia.
What is the biggest misconception that consumers have about sustainable denim?
While consumers may understand the marketing around sustainable denim, not all of them can fully grasp the message or think critically about it. Consumers tend to believe what the marketing tells them. It can influence their purchase but they might not fully comprehend that if the jean is marketed as using less water for example it can still use a lot of chemicals and polyester and have a huge carbon footprint.
Manufacturers and brands often focus on only one aspect of the product, but they should ensure that sustainability is all encompassing, from the raw materials consumed to corporate social responsibility—the entire process should entail a degree of social fairness. Product, planet and people are all equally important when it comes to sustainability.
What can the denim industry do to ensure a positive post-pandemic rebound?
The pandemic has allowed our industry to pause and reflect—to take a hard look at the impact we’ve had on the environment and see how we can move forward in a more ethical and responsible way. The industry needs to be proactive. The world’s social and environmental standards have changed drastically over the past few years and today’s consumers are watching. Innovation, transparency and a commitment to environmentally responsible practices are paramount to achieving a positive post-pandemic rebound.
Skinny jeans: Over or a new staple?
Skinny jeans are in decline, but I don’t think they will completely fade into obscurity. In some parts of the world, especially Europe, they continue to be popular. I think a huge part of the skinny jean consumer on the women’s side believe that this fit is a direct expression of their personal style, and they believe the silhouette is flattering. Loose fits, straighter silhouettes and plays on waists and lengths and leg shapes are certainly capturing more market share though at present.
How can denim retail improve?
Denim retail can improve by giving people a more curated and intimate experience. We often notice long lines outside smaller shops that bring something unique to the table and we see malls and some of the big department store chains empty. This is because too much choice is often not consumer or brand friendly.
How many pairs of jeans do you own?
At least a dozen.
Which jeans do you wear the most, and why?
It would have to be a pair of jeans customized at our own facilities made from a fabric that has been a success story for us in the U.S. and Scandinavian markets. It is a 12-ounce comfort stretch fabric with subtle slubs and a deep pure indigo shade with our soft tech yarn technology.