Pakistani denim maker Artistic Garment Industries (AGI) said it has entered a one-year deal with Panda Biotech of Texas for the supply of an unspecified amount of cottonized hemp.
AGI is headquartered in Karachi, where it also has a denim mill. The company runs cottonized hemp fiber through advanced manufacturing technologies that turn out denim. AGI said it is moving to scale up the use of sustainable raw materials in its products.
“As we transition to a future that embraces more sustainable agriculture and processing practices in textiles, industrial hemp can help lead the way,” said Hasan Javed, AGI Denim’s executive director.
AGI said it entered the arrangement, in part, based on Panda Biotech’s plans for establishing traceability in which the hemp fiber can be tracked from the field to finished products.
The company has already developed HempX, a textile blend of organic cotton, hemp and elastane from recycled materials that earned it Gold Level certification from the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute, which advances sustainability. AGI said it employs a range of alternatives to traditional denim manufacturing and processing methods.
AGI is the first company to partner with Panda Biotech, which is developing an industrial scale hemp gin in Wichita Falls, Texas expected to be operational in March 2022. The company said the facility will be financed in part with proceeds from the sale of up to $100 million tax exempt, green bonds issued by the Mission Economic Development Corporation, Mission, Texas.
Legacy denim maker
AGI dates to 1949, and is one of Pakistan’s leading denim manufacturers. It is to embark on construction of a new 1-million-sq-ft. state-of-the-art industrial park later this year that will include a spinning mill and denim processing facility.
“Hemp, especially in its cottonized form, is an emerging champion in the world of fibers,” said Henry Wong, AGI’s product director, noting the crop’s potential as regulatory changes continue to open hemp markets around the world.
Three additional Pakistani textile makers also recently started producing new denim fabrics blending cotton with hemp.