Artistic Milliners, managing director
Murtaza Ahmed
Artistic Milliners, managing director

Deep Dive

From growing garment capacity to implementing sustainable cotton programs, Artistic Milliners managing director Murtaza Ahmed has been essential to the vertically integrated denim manufacturer’s recent expansion efforts, including those that venture outside the denim space.

The company opened a $60 million state-of-the-art garment facility which added around 30 percent additional capacity to its overall group portfolio. With the new factory, Artistic Milliners can produce 44 million jeans annually and is adding 4,000 jobs to the Pakistani workforce. Additionally, Artistic Milliners has completed Circular Park, a purpose-built fiber recovery facility powered by clean energy, capable of recovering up to half a million kilograms of textile waste every month. The plant enables the company to recycle both post-industrial and post-consumer waste with better staple strength.

Artistic Milliners is also growing the company beyond denim with Artmill, which offers retailers, manufacturers and brands turnkey solutions for their woven casualwear programs or tailor custom offerings for startup and premium labels. 

“Traditionally, we have been a denim company only. Today, we can produce non-denim woven goods for chinos, cargos and eventually we will have the ability to enter the technical fabric/workwear market,” Ahmed said. “With Artmill we can cater to workwear, functional fabrics, outdoor, leisure and fashion besides office-wear.” 

What denim buzzword do you think is overused? And what would you replace it with?

“Sustainable" and “green” are two buzzwords I think are overused, which I would replace with “ethically sourced.” Defining a pair of jeans as “sustainable” or “green” is not enough. As an industry, we need to ensure that jeans are ethically sourced, and that encompass labor practice, traceability and environmental impact.

What do you wish more consumers knew about the jeans they buy?

I wish consumers knew where or which company the jeans were coming from. I think even within the same region, manufacturing practices of companies vary to a great extent and have an impact on how ethical a product really is.

If you had one request for denim brands, what would that be?

Price/cost should not be the only metric for deciding which suppliers to work with. We need to work in partnership together for the long-term benefit for people and the planet.

What can other apparel categories learn from the denim industry?

Innovation and the constant pursuit to ensure we leave a better planet than we inherited.

What was your most recent denim purchase?

Levi’s 511.

What is your first denim memory?

My first denim memory is buying a pair of Diesel jeans in New York with my father in 1998. At that time, Diesel jeans were sold at Macy's, and I liked this one pair. Once I saw the price tag, I decided it was too expensive for me and proceeded to find my father’s size in those jeans. I then pursued my father to purchase it for himself. He was kind enough to ask me to select the same pair in my size. I wore those jeans for years! It was and will remain a special memory for me.