Artistic Milliners puts Pakistan’s Certified Organic Cotton on World Map
In collaboration with international fashion group BESTSELLER and conservation organization, WWF-Pakistan, Artistic Milliners has ensured farm to fashion traceability for its Indigenous Organic Cotton and a fair share for farmers.
Organic cotton has become a widely disputed area globally due to lack of value chain transparency. Artistic Milliners and BESTSELLER have joined hands to change this. 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. Artistic Milliners’ Cotton project now dubbed as Milliner CottonOrganic is all set to meet the global quality and authenticity standards.
For almost an year, Artistic Milliners worked with WWF- Pakistan and the Government of Baluchistan to curate a project that speaks to the farmer community and is based on the ground realities and issues at hand. The project is also informed by the learnings and experiences with organic cotton cultivation elsewhere in the world. It incorporates solutions that address social inequity and certification integrity at the design stage.
BESTSELLER its brand JACK & JONES are together with Artistic Milliners now collaborating to bring this new generation of organic cotton to market.
“Artistic Milliners has done an 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. In BESTSELLERs Fashion FWD Lab we aim for visionary collaborations exactly like this one, and we wanted to help them scale it up and bring it to a point where it not only meets all global standards of certified organic cotton but has also an added element of data-driven traceability in it. 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 endeavor wholesome for the entire community,” said Camilla SkjønningJørgensen, Sustainable Materials & Innovation Manager, BESTSELLER.
Ali Baksh is a farmer based in Kohlu- region where Milliner Cotton-Organic will be farmed. He is a father of 6 children and his family has been farming for generations.Yet,Ali never had the opportunity to commercialize farming because of lack of access to market and because he never had the skills and training required for it.
“I have heard from my farmer friends elsewhere in Balochistan that, in the long run, organic farming is inexpensive; since farmers don’t have to buy chemicals and synthetic fertilizers. If the farmers in Kohlu are supported to promote organic farming, it will increase our income and I’ll be able to provide better quality of life to my family.
I am also a farmer who respects my land and I believe organic farming will make it healthier and keep it fertile.”
Many farmer communities around the world are faced with hostile work environments. Artistic Milliners is especially cognizant to give back to the local indigenous community through Milliner Cotton -Organic project. The company continues to expand on its community work for the farmers and women cotton pickers. They will not only receive fair profits but will also benefit from basic life skills training and financial literacy for greater awareness of the world around them. They will have a real chance to attain a decent living standard.
“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 eliminates all kinds of loopholes from the value chain,” said 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. 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.”
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 the year 2022.
“Government of Balochistan DAE is playing vital role to introduce organic cotton cultivation in Pakistan with committed roles and responsibilities on sustainable basis. The cooperation of Artistic Milliners is appreciated on their part for supporting the farming community which will lead towards better environmental effects. The potential is there to expand organic cultivation in Balochistan due to available uncultivated virgin and fertile land. That is why the Government of Balochistan is keen to establish the province as the ‘Organic Valley of Pakistan’. The climatic conditions of Balochistan for producing high staples length and quality cotton has incredible potential for the textile industry.” said Masoud Ahmed Baloch, Director General Agriculture Extension, Government of Balochistan.
Pakistan is fairly new in the area of organic cotton cultivation and the country’s first cotton bale came out of the project funded by Laudes Foundation(C&A) and implemented by WWF-Pakistan in collaboration with Department of Agriculture Extension, Government of Balochistan only two years ago, in 2019.