Monday, March 15, 2021

Pakistan Starts Producing Denim Jeans From Hemp ( بھنگ) Fiber

Quest for sustainable fiber with antimicrobial properties has created a global market for hemp (بھنگ) that grows wild in Pakistan. The ongoing COVID19 pandemic and increasing climate concerns have given further impetus to this movement. Responding to shifting market preferences, major Pakistani denim makers Artistic Milliners and US Denim have now begun producing new denim fabrics blending cotton with hemp

Hemp Jeans

At last year's Kingpin Show online, Karachi-based Artistic Milliners presented its Bio Vision 2.0 collection that is based on guidelines set by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Jeans Redesign, featuring biodegradable fibers that provide optimal recovery, according to Sourcing Journal. The mill’s circular focus is also displayed in its Circular Blue New collection, which is made of 100 percent recycled cotton and uses post-consumer, pre-consumer and industrial waste. Lahore-based US Denim’s latest collections also focus on sustainability and feature recycled and biodegradable fibers. Its Reborn product is “sustainable from every angle” and uses recycled cotton, elastane and polyester; aniline-free dyestuff; and water-safe dyeing methods. 

Sourcing Journal reported that "the Pakistan-based fabric mill also highlighted its use of cottonized hemp, which checks off multiple boxes for consumers, as the fiber is both sustainable and naturally antimicrobial. Its IntelliJeans collection features hemp sourced from China that is free of pesticides and uses 86 percent less water than conventional products". 

Scientists at Agriculture University in Faisalabad are working on creating the blends needed to satisfy the need for sustainability, softness and antimicrobial properties, according to BBC Urdu.  Dr Asad Farooq of the UAF was quoted by the media as saying: "We have signed an MoU with a US-based company and will soon begin mass production". 

Pakistan government has decided to permit hemp farming for industrial and medicinal use, according to Mr. Fawad Chaudhry, Minister of Science and Technology. Initially, the government will control hemp production, Chaudhry said, but private businesses and farmers will be allowed to enter the market at a later date, according to the French news agency AFP.

Hemp ( بھنگ ) plants grow wild like weeds in many parts of Pakistan, particularly in Potohar region where the nation's capital Islamabad is located. Hemp is one of the oldest plants on record as having been used to benefit humans. Hemp is known to have at least 50,000 different uses.  In South Asia, people have been cultivating hemp to make ropes and bags and to smoke hashish for centuries.

The government has picked International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS) to help regulate hemp products in Pakistan, according to HempToday, a publication that covers the hemp industry. Located at the University of Karachi, it has all the equipment and expertise needed for validation and compliance certification of hemp products in the country, according to Dr. Iqbal Chaudhry, the Center’s Director. He said Pakistan can develop value-added products for export using ICCBS’s research facilities.

Hemp (بھنگ) Applications

It is hard to tell hemp and marijuana plants apart. Both look the same. However, unlike marijuana, hemp does not contain large amount of high-inducing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which can be addictive. However, it can still be used to produce CBD (cannabinoid) for medical purposes.  US Law requires that hemp not contain more than 0.3% THC.

In addition to using CBD in food and medicine, there are many different industrial uses of hemp as well. It can be used in textiles, paper, building materials and body care products.

Pakistan can export CBD to European Union and the United States where it has been legalized and being used to fight the side effects of cancer chemotherapy. The estimated global current market opportunity for CBD is about $25 billion."This hemp market could provide Pakistan with some $1 billion (in export earnings) in the next three years and we are in a process of making a full-fledged plan for this purpose," Mr. Chaudhry told the media recently. He also said that with cotton production in Pakistan declining due to various factors, hemp provided farmers with a viable alternative.

Hemp is probably the strongest natural fiber known to man. It has been used to make ropes, bags and textile fabrics for centuries. Rope beds, known as charpais, are still a common sight in rural Pakistan. Using hemp instead of trees in making paper and packaging materials can help save Pakistan's meager forests, and help diversify exports to earn valuable foreign exchange.

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Riaz Haq said...

#Lahore-based Service Global Footwear Ltd., #Pakistan’s largest #shoes exporter (its customers include Zara, Levi-Strauss, Dockers & Dr. Scholl) is planning an #IPO at #Karachi Stock Exchange to raise Rs. 1.6 billion ($10 million) for its #tire business.

Service Global Footwear is part of Service Industries Ltd., which has more than 13,000 employees and is known for its shoes and tires in Pakistan. The footwear unit supplies brands including Inditex SA’s Zara, Levi Strauss & Co.’s Dockers and Reckitt Benckiser Group Plc’s Scholl. The business has an annual revenue of about $44 million and exports to European countries such as Germany, France and Italy. It has a capacity to produce 3.6 million pairs of shoes annually.

A representative for Service Industries confirmed the details of its unit’s IPO plans.

The shoemaker is joining a global rush to tap capital markets for funds, riding on strong investor sentiment. Pakistan’s benchmark KSE-100 Index’s 33% gain in the past year has encouraged the country’s first-time share market, which is seen as heading for a record year.

Service Global Footwear plans to use the IPO proceeds to buy about 20% stake in a joint venture set up by Service Industries and China’s Chaoyang Long March Tyre Co., Habib said. The business will manufacture truck and bus radial tires in Pakistan for export from a factory near Karachi. At a cost of about $250 million over seven years, it’s the largest investment in a tire manufacturing plant in the country. The first phase will start operations in August.

Anonymous said...

Is it the addictive plant? Any impact on youth?

Riaz Haq said...

#American Fabric Brand Lenzing Taps Supply Chain Leaders in #Pakistan & #UK to Launch Tencel Lyocell #Hemp #Denim. It has been developed exclusively in-house by Pakistan-based denim producer Naveena Denim Ltd., and U.K.-based Endrime.

A new capsule collection from Lenzing is a literal and figurative meeting of the minds.

Debuting at Kingpins24, the Bast Recast collection demonstrates the power of collaboration, featuring a Tencel lyocell hemp blend and environmentally friendly solutions from leaders throughout the denim supply chain that underscore hemp’s sustainable properties.

“In order to pay homage to the history of hemp, we brought together a group of companies who we knew could deliver both the quality, innovation and environmental integrity that the sustainable denim wardrobe projects demand,” said Michael Kininmonth, project manager at Lenzing.

Every detail, from thread to hang tag, was selected with the environment in mind: Portugese supplier Crafil provided biodegradable sewing threads made from Celofil—100 percent certified Tencel lyocell thread—while joker labels and hang-tags were designed from the collection’s off-cuts. Preservation project Warp-face provided sustainable paper, and Italian chemicals company Officina+39 supplied Recycrom dyestuff for the Tencel lyocell and hemp denim paper.

Hemp has long been touted by farmers as a fiber that has regenerative properties and requires less water to grow than cotton crops, and has been considered a cash crop in countries like China. But because of its connection to the cannabis industry, hemp has been a difficult field to navigate from a legal standpoint. Easing national restrictions in recent years have helped nudge the fiber into the spotlight, leading experts to view it as the next major cotton alternative. Outdoor apparel leader Patagonia recently spearheaded a plan to bring hemp production back to the U.S.—specifically to Colorado’s San Luis Valley.

Major brands such as Levi’s have been experimenting with the fiber for years, and the denim giant just recently debuted a collection with its highest hemp count to-date. The line offers garments including men’s and women’s Trucker Jackets, and men’s 502 Taper jeans, made with 55 percent hemp blends—up from 30 percent in 2019. Hemp is also a part of Wrangler’s new Retro Green Jean collection, a line that gives a sustainable update to its bestselling denim.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan #textiles bouncing back, says Karl Mayer. Most modern Prosize & Warpdirect machines are destined for the textile strongholds of #Karachi and #Lahore, which are currently benefiting from a boom in demand for high-end #household textiles, he added.

Karachi and Lahore mills benefiting from a boom in demand for high-end household textiles.

Karl Mayer reports a significant surge in 2021 orders for the Prosize and Warpdirect machines made by its Warp Preparation business from Pakistan.

“Pakistan’s economy was hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, but the textile and garment industry has quickly showed the first signs of recovery,” said the company’s vice president of sales and marketing, Dieter Gager. “Things have been going crazy for some time now. In particular, the Prosize sizing machine, combined with the Warpdirect beam warping machine, are proving to be bestsellers –order volume for these models was already considerable in 2020, but has been surpassed this year.”

Most machines are destined for the textile strongholds of Karachi and Lahore, which are currently benefiting from a boom in demand for high-end household textiles, he added.

Bed linen and terry towels from Pakistan are in great demand both in the domestic market and abroad. The latest generation weaving machines are used for the production of diverse articles, which require warp beams of the highest quality for their full performance.

This is where the Prosize and Warpdirect come into play.

The beam warping machine ensures the same warping length for all warp beams, uniform thread tensions and an even winding structure. The sizing machine that follows in the process applies sizing to the threads homogeneously and without affecting the elasticity. It also requires very little water and very few chemicals to do so.

Riaz Haq said...

Levi's largest Knit supplier in #Pakistan expands capacity with TUKATECH with latest model for most productivity with "zero buffers, cutting 9cm high compressed fabrics. It's been awarded most "Eco-friendly" for #energy consumption (k/w/hour used). #Green

LOS ANGELES, May 13, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Pakistan based, Combined Fabric Ltd., the largest supplier of knit garments to Levi's, is expanding their cutting capacity by adding a third Tukatech automatic high-ply cutter. TUKAcut 9.0 is from the line of ECO award-winning cutters that meet the requirements of apparel, PPE and uniform manufacturers in the Industry 4.0 era. The latest model for most productivity with "zero buffers, cutting 9cm high compressed fabrics, and has been awarded most "Eco-friendly" for energy consumption (k/w/hour used). This is a big deal especially in countries such as Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and even parts of the United States where electricity costs of factories can be extremely high when running multiple shifts and demand for faster production is required.

"We saw how TUKA cutting room solutions reduced 80% of our staff in cutting room, improved our quality and eliminated useless steps. We really are a very happy users of TUKAcad, TUKA3D, CutPlanning, SMARTmark, automatic fabric spreaders and cutters, and unit production systems. We have almost everything TUKA offers and we are adding more systems only because we have seen the results," says Sheikh Tariq Mehmood, Director of Combined Fabrics. "We were automated with other CAD, spreading, and cutting systems. We know automation and we REPLACED ALL other so-called 'automatic' systems with Tukatech, became better friends, and continue to add more of their technology because we TRUST THEM."

Combined Fabrics is a totally vertical company from yarns, to thread, to fabric, to garments, to finishing and dyeing, and even make their own buttons and other trims. They started their partnership back in 2018 when Tukatech first visited their facility in Lahore, Pakistan. Mr. Ram Sareen pin-pointed inefficiencies within their cutting room operations.

"When Mr. Ram came to us and he saw what we were doing, and how we were doing it, he opened our eyes to what we were doing wrong," said Atif Shaik, Director, Combined Fabrics. Without implementing any systems at first and with guidance from Tukatech, Combined Fabrics saw a 7% fabric savings, immediate improvements, and cost savings. With TUKA systems, Combined Fabrics saw their consumption reduce from 12%-14% per garment.

About Combined Fabrics - Combined Fabrics Limited is a WRAP Certified vertically integrated Knit apparel manufacturing facility founded in 1990. Having the entire production process (Knitting, Dyeing, Finishing, Embroidery, Stitching) under one roof, we are able to deliver quality Products with minimum wastage and faster delivery time. For more information visit:

About Tukatech - Tukatech was founded in 1995 with the objective to have pattern makers create patterns digitally on the computer. Tukatech is an influential fashion technology company known worldwide for innovative solutions and superior technical support. They are the industry's leading provider of fashion software and machinery for product development, cloud collaboration, and garment manufacturing.

Riaz Haq said...

Levi Jeans' New #Pakistan Store is Run Entirely by #Women. It is 168-year-old #international clothing brand's first owned-and-operated store in Pakistan that’s staffed entirely by women. The store is located in #Lahore. #apparel via @SourcingJournal

The opening is a win for Pakistani women, as the Covid-19 pandemic hit vulnerable demographics especially hard and exposed an increasing need to learn alternative work skills. According to Maha Butt, the new store’s manager, Levi’s launch helps open a new line of work for those most affected.

“This is a great initiative that heads in the right direction to break gender-based stereotypes and perspectives,” she said. “It’s great that we can showcase retail as a good and rewarding career option for women.”

One of the world’s largest sources of funding for developing countries, the World Bank Group reported that while women make up 48.5 percent of Pakistan’s population, only about 22 percent are employed. To close that gap, companies throughout the global denim supply chain launched targeted initiatives to support Pakistani women.

In March, Pakistan-based Artistic Milliners launched HERessentials, a pilot program that helps women working within its factories develop social and technical skills needed to respond to environmental and socioeconomic changes. The program is established by the same organizers of HERproject, a skills-building initiative that’s also garnered support from denim heavyweights including Levi’s.

The denim brand noted that it has more work to do to connect Pakistani women with employment opportunities. Currently, the company reports that 14 percent of women make up its Pakistani retail workforce. It aims to increase that number to 25 percent by the end of 2021, and up to 40 percent by the end of 2022. A second women-run store is slated to open in Karachi later this year.

“I am so excited about this amazing store from our team in Pakistan,” said Elizabeth A. Morrison, who joined Levi Strauss as chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer last year. “It builds on and challenges us to advocate for what’s right while capturing our renewed commitment to focusing on ‘our insides’ and our intention to create a company that mirrors our consumers and communities.”

The initiative is part of Levi’s greater commitment to having better representation throughout the company. Last June, it published its first-annual diversity report which showed that women make up 55 percent of the company’s corporate division and 58 percent of its retail segment, but the majority of management positions are fulfilled by men. Males make up 59 percent of leadership positions, which LS&Co. defines as the top 250 leaders in the company. Men fulfill 56 percent of executive management positions and 67 percent of LS&Co.’s board of directors.

Riaz Haq said...

ISKO & Pakistan's Soorty sign licensing agreement for garment & fabric

ISKO and Pakistan’s Soorty have signed a landmark technology licensing agreement to work in partnership on the production of fabric and garment collections. The collaboration combines Isko’s renowned expertise in creating patented technologies with Soorty’s extensive vertical production network, which will be utilised to produce the collections.

The unique collaboration opens the door to significant, new business opportunities for both companies and will enable them to meet customers’ needs on a greater scale. Through this partnership, Isko and Soorty have developed a business model that is a first in the industry with the potential to change working practices for the better and unlock value for the entire market through the scaling of responsible innovations. The two players are at the forefront of sustainability, inclusivity, technology and education in the industry and are driven by a shared approach that prioritises synergy, cross-fertilisation, and a quest for constant improvement, Isko said in a press release.

The first collaborative effort between the companies sees the launch of the ISKO Future Face by Soorty collection. Created using ISKO’s innovative ISKO Future Face technology, it is produced by Soorty specifically for the US market. ISKO Future Face is a patented woven fabric that looks like a knit. This fabric innovation combines a soft, silky finish with comfort, enhanced shape retention and a flattering drape, while maintaining all the properties of true denim, according to ISKO.

Today’s business landscape is calling out to all stakeholders to create connections that help take care of the planet and its people. ISKO’s Responsible Innovation approach is founded on creativity, competence and citizenship and demonstrates the company’s effort to make the world a better place. Soorty, Pakistan’s largest vertically integrated denim company, is committed to a vision of a clean, green and fair future for all, which is a perfect alignment for this partnership.

“With this partnership, we are paving the way towards the implementation of new best practices that will change the industry forever. We truly believe that going beyond the traditional conception of competition can really push change for the better: a better service for our customers, a better business and a better future,” Marco Lucietti, ISKO director of strategic projects said in a statement.

“We believe in cooperation over competition. And we believe that this cooperation, which is the first of its kind in the industry, will unlock immense value for brands and consumers. ISKO Future Face by Soorty is a truly game changing offer that can be used to create an endless array of products, all of which are in high demand in both the pandemic and post-pandemic world. We’re hugely excited by the possibilities this opens up for the market,” Asad Soorty, director of Soorty said.

Riaz Haq said...

Can #Pakistan Bridge Gap Between #Organic #Cotton’s Supply & Demand? Pakistan is not among the top-ranking countries but it is the biggest contributor to the global growth, signaling it’s gaining momentum in the market. #sustainable via @SourcingJournal

When it comes to sustainability trends, seeds are taking the reign.

The organic cotton label has recently been catching the eye of denim consumers as the demand for sustainable fashion increases. To answer their call, companies throughout the denim supply chain have been clamoring for more organic cotton from farmers. But what they’re finding is that the world’s supply of the fiber might not be enough to meet the demand.

While new data from the Textile Exchange’s 2021 Organic Cotton Market Report shows that the amount of harvested organic cotton set records in the 2019-20 crop year at 249,153 tons, this sum still accounts for just 1 percent of global production.

Enter industry efforts for more organic cotton strategies such as the Milliner Cotton Initiative (MCI), which Pakistan-based denim mill Artistic Milliners launched in October alongside environmental nonprofit World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) Pakistan and the Government of Baluchistan. The program aims to commercialize indigenous organic cotton in the Baluchistan region and add transparency to the value chain.

Textile Exchange’s report indicated that the top seven organic cotton-producing countries, which together account for 95 percent of global production, were India at 50 percent, followed by China, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey, Tanzania, Tajikistan and the U.S. Though Pakistan wasn’t one of the top-ranking countries, it was one of the biggest contributors to the global growth, signaling it’s gaining momentum in the market.

Earlier this year, Danish apparel company Bestseller, which owns labels Jack & Jones, Vero Moda and Only, helped fuel MCI with a 30 percent funding. According to Danique Lodewijks, a senior project specialist at Bestseller, the initiative allows the company to make a major impact in sustainable fashion.

“Cotton is a very important fiber for Bestseller, as more than 50 percent of our total fiber consumption comes from cotton,” she said during an Artistic Milliner webinar on Thursday. “We have a relatively high cotton footprint, and therefore also a big opportunity to actually influence and promote change in the fashion industry—but we also know that currently there is simply not enough organic cotton available in the market to meet the needs of the industry.”

The initiative is directly aligned with Bestseller’s target to source 30 percent organic cotton by 2025, but that’s not the only driving force for the partnership. Lodewijks said the company also got involved as a way to gain more insight into what is happening on the ground and build stronger relationships with farmers and suppliers, ultimately securing its future organic cotton supply.

Increasing transparency throughout the supply chain—specifically at the fiber stage—has been a subject of focus for many in recent years. According to Ruud Schute, program director at Organic Cotton Accelerator (OCA), a multi-stakeholder organization dedicated to the fiber, the seeds are the most important part of the organic journey.

“Finding the right seed for the right yield, making sure that the farmers get the crops they expect, and making sure that the integrity is not compromised from the beginning [is what’s most important],” he said. “I think everybody understands that once we start with the wrong base for organic cotton, we will have a lot of catching up to do later.”

He added that it’s important to grow organic cotton with consideration to the heavy demand, but “with a very clear eye on reality and on how far nature can go in a certain period of time, and how quickly we can replicate this without compromising the seed.”

Riaz Haq said...

Dec21 #cotton marked its contract high close. What's driving #CT_F prices higher?

Market view on TT: #Corn, #wheat, #soybeans, #soymeal, #soyoil, #oats, #canola and #rapeseed rose. #Palmoil fell. #Pork was higher. #Cattle was mixed. #Sugar and #lumber fell. #Coffee, #cocoa, #cotton and #OJ rose.


The driver is demand and tighter stocks. Cotton is regaining market share against man-made as environmental concerns over microfiber pollution expand. May market share in value of US apparel imports hit 51%, up sharply from 2019 bottom. Consumer preference has changed!