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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Comment by Riaz Haq on March 15, 2021 at 5:09pm

#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.

Comment by Riaz Haq on April 25, 2021 at 1:12pm

#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.

Comment by Riaz Haq on May 15, 2021 at 12:34pm

#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.

Comment by Riaz Haq on May 16, 2021 at 1:44pm

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.

Comment by Riaz Haq on May 17, 2021 at 6:57am

Woven together, the rise and fall of southern Pakistan’s Banarsi sari

Banarsi silk was a luxurious hand-woven fabric once made in the city of Khairpur, in Sindh
No official data exists on the history of the industry and the stories are told by the weavers themselves
SINDH: At the Banarsi Silk Weavers’ Colony in the city of Khairpur, in Sindh, 47-year-old merchant Zafar Abbas Ansari was waiting, hoping for a few additional orders of silk Banarsi saris as Eid Al-Fitr approached.
The sari is a garment native to South Asia, where a long piece of cloth is wrapped elaborately around the body — usually in cotton or silk — and worn with a matching blouse.
Although the city does not make Banarsi any longer — it is now made in Karachi, more than 400 km away — customers still come to the city to purchase the fabric.
Inside the deserted 70-year-old market — once a bustling place — Zafar’s shop is among the last three Banarsi shops left. His family is one of the 40 weaver families who brought the industry to Khairpur when they migrated from India in 1952.
“It is almost two decades since Khairpur stopped producing Banarsi saris after the industry’s collapse. However, even today, the brand is popular among customers. They keep demanding Khairpur’s brand,” Zafar told Arab News.
In its heyday, Khairpur’s Banarsi sari was synonymous with luxury, with vendors supplying the fabric not only locally but also exporting to Pakistani families living in the UK and other European countries.
Inside Zafar’s shop, unstitched pieces of colorful saris — the blouse, the petticoat and main sari fabric — are displayed. The shop shows off different varieties of saris, including the traditional katan — a plain woven fabric with pure silk threads — chiffon, as well as synthetic fabrics.
“Banarsi sari has distinction and standing,” Zafar said proudly. “It is worn by royal families because of its grace and elegance. In some families it is an essential part of the bridal trousseau.”

The price of a sari depends upon its type. The most expensive sari fabric available in the Khairpur market currently is worth Rs45,000 ($300) a piece
Khairpur’s Banarsi Silk Weavers’ Colony is named after the city of Banaras in India (now Varanasi) because of the silk weavers who migrated from there.
There are no official records, and the story of the garment comes from the weavers themselves. They say the history of the Banaras sari industry in Khairpur is linked with Ghulam Saddiquah Begum — the wife of Khairpur state’s then ruler, Mir Ali Murad Khan Talpur of the Talpur dynasty.
Saddiquah Begum herself came from Bahawalpur state, and in 1949, the weavers said, during a visit to India’s Hyderabad Deccan, she offered Mohammed Yusuf Ansari — a sari trader from Banaras — the chance to start manufacturing in Khairpur.
She is said to have offered her state’s support for the establishment of the manufacturing units required.
In 1952, about 40 families of the Ansari clan migrated from Banaras to Khairpur and sari manufacturing began on handlooms. Later, the saris were exported to other countries.
Arab News could not independently verify this information.
According to Anjum Sajjad Ansari, grandson of Muhammad Yusuf Ansari and a representative of the Banarsi Silk Weavers’ Association Khairpur, at its peak there were 400 handlooms in Khairpur. Today, not a single handloom remains.
“At Khairpur’s Banarsi Silk Weavers Colony today there are 16 houses of traditional weavers. However only three are involved in this business of selling Karachi-made fabric,” Anjum said.
Like elsewhere, the Banarsi brand was associated with pure silk thread work. Initially, Khairpur used silk imported from China, but later the silk came from Punjab’s Changa Manga as Pakistan developed hatching silkworms and silk fiber producing factories.
The whole family engaged in the manufacturing process, including silk weaving, dyeing, warping, and reeling. It took between two to three days’ work to complete a single sari.

Comment by Riaz Haq on May 26, 2021 at 6:16pm

#Pakistan welcomes surge in knitwear #exports. Exports of leggings, t shirts, sweaters & underwear jumped 30% in the first 10 months of the current fiscal year as the industry continued its recovery from the negative impact of the #coronavirus #pandemic.

Total knitwear exports were US$3.1 billion, up from from $2.3 billion over the same period in the previous year, according to the latest data from the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS).


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