Pakistani denim makers begin to make use of hemp

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Three Pakistani textile makers say they have begun producing new denim fabrics blending cotton with hemp. Artistic Milliners (AM), Karachi; US Denim, Lahore; and Farooq Spinning Mills, Faisalabad, all say they have embarked on denim production that incorporates hemp, according to South Asia Investor Review.

After establishing a hemp program last year, the Pakistani government has said hemp can be a sustainable replacement for cotton production, which is in decline in Pakistan as farmers shift to other crops due to low prices and a lack of high-quality seed. Pakistan was once the world’s largest exporter of cotton yarn, and the fourth biggest cotton producer in the world behind China, India and the USA.

Sourced from China

AM’s IntelliJeans collection features cottonized hemp sourced from China for now. The line is being marketed as both sustainable and naturally antimicrobial. A global conglomerate that originated as a vertically integrated denim manufacturer, Artistic Milliners operates a consumer experience center in Dubai and an innovation incubator in Soho, New York City, as well as a manufacturing facility in Los Angeles.

US Denim is a fabric mill supplying denim to the fashion industry through partnerships with such leading international brands as Levi’s, H&M and Marks & Spencer. Its collections focus on sustainability and feature recycled and biodegradable fibers such as hemp. Other products use recycled cotton, elastane and polyester; aniline-free dyestuff; and water-safe dyeing methods. 

Asad Farooq of Farooq Spinning recently told BBC Urdu his company has signed a memorandum of understanding to begin mass production for a U.S.-based company.

Research under way

Backing the move toward hemp textiles in Pakistan, scientists at Agriculture University in Faisalabad are creating sustainable blends incorporating hemp.

Pakistan approved hemp farming and processing under government control last September, suggesting the sector could result in a $1 billion market over the next three years. Farms for cannabis production are being established in Jhelum, Peshawar, Chakwal and Islamabad.

The government is controlling hemp production for now, but plans call for letting private businesses and farmers enter the market at a later date.

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