For almost a year, Artistic Milliners has worked with WWF-Pakistan and Baluchistan’s local government to curate a project that speaks to the farmer community and is based on local realities and issues at hand. The project is also informed by the lessons and experiences from organic cotton cultivation elsewhere in the world. It incorporates solutions that address social inequity and certification integrity at the design stage.

Pakistan’s organic cotton from the virgin lands of Baluchistan has demonstrated great potential. The organic cotton project announced by Artistic Milliners in 2020 is now ready for the next big transformation: farm-to-fashion transparency and traceability. Dubbed ‘Milliner Cotton Organic’, the project is all set to meet global quality and authenticity standards.

Bringing to market

BESTSELLER and its brand JACK & JONES are together with Artistic Milliners now collaborating to bring this new generation of organic cotton to market.

“Milliner Cotton Organic is going to be a game changer for the industry. It is very encouraging for us to have our long-standing brand partner BESTSELLER on board. Their support goes beyond the funding. Together, we are working with blockchain-based traceability to implement processes that eliminate all kinds of loopholes from the value chain,” says Omer Ahmed, CEO at Artistic Milliners.

“We are also grateful to our implementation partners WWF-Pakistan for working so passionately on this project and bringing a real, positive impact. As one of the pioneer contributors of OCA in Pakistan, our project holds great potential of scalability on global standards. Pakistan’s organic cotton sourced via Milliner Cotton Organic Project is being grown in one of the most underdeveloped communities. With long-term pre-orders for their cotton, the farmers are seeing a new ray of light. The entire community will prosper.”

Artistic Milliners will continue to expand on its community work for farmers and female cotton pickers. They will not only receive fair profits but also benefit from basic life-skills training and financial literacy for greater awareness of the world around them.

“Direct-to-farm is unquestionably a good and well-founded approach when it comes to sourcing organic cotton. We have a long-standing, prosperous relationship with Artistic Milliners that has lasted more than six years. Artistic Milliners is one of our very closest partners. We are in constant close collaboration with them on how to innovate and renew the denim business and a lot of innovative projects been launched together with them over the years. We have no doubt that this project will also be a success,” says Kim Frydensbjerg Klausen, Production Buying Manager in JACK & JONES.

Joining Organic Cotton Accelerator

In 2020, Artistic Milliners became one of the pioneer Pakistani contributors to the Organic Cotton Accelerator (OCA). OCA is multi-stakeholder organisation fully dedicated to organic cotton and committed to bringing integrity, supply security and measurable social and environmental impact to organic cotton. Artistic Milliners aims to transition Milliner Cotton Organic to the OCA FED Programme in 2022.

“Artistic Milliners has done some impressive groundwork with Milliners Cotton Organic, which comes across as both authentic and promising. At BESTSELLER, we are deeply committed to sourcing and using materials that have less impact on the environment – and Milliners Cotton Organic fits the bill,” says Camilla Skjønning Jørgensen, Sustainable Materials & Innovation Manager, BESTSELLER.

"At the same time, BESTSELLER and Artistic Milliners wanted to ensure a direct-to-farm approach where we can improve and demonstrate the business case for the organic cotton farmers and suppliers – making this endeavour wholesome for the entire community.”

Artistic Milliners is a global denim powerhouse with a strong focus on automation, innovation, research, people and planet. With a legacy of more than 70 years, Artistic Milliners is a multi-faceted, vertically integrated denim and garment manufacturer with annual production capacity of 108 million meters of fabric and 30 million garments respectively. The company embraces sustainability at all levels: climate action, water conservation, circular economy, gender equity and workers’ wellbeing. The company’s investment in sustainable cotton, Milliner Cotton, is a holistic project that aims at addressing scalability, traceability and women empowerment across the cotton supply chain. Its renewable energy venture, Artistic Energy, supplies 100 MW of clean energy to Pakistan’s grid, providing electricity to more than 50,000 households in underdeveloped communities. A direct-to-farm sourcing model helps to create a secure market and a premium payment for the farmers. When sourcing through direct-to-farm, we know where our raw materials come from and the communities that grow it, what impact our investment has, and how our pre-financing of seeds has helped.