Interior of SFI facility located in Commerce, Calif.

Interior of SFI facility located in Commerce, Calif.


Artistic Milliners Expands With Denim-Laundry Acquisition

Global denim firm Artistic Milliners announced Jan. 12 its acquisition of a Los Angeles wash-and-finish factory launched under the name Star Fades International as the company invests in design and production innovations. With vertical operations that include organic-cotton sourcing from Balochi, Pakistan, in addition to denim-mill operations and jeans construction in Karachi, Pakistan, Artistic Milliners’ Los Angeles expansion in Commerce, Calif., affords greater choice to the industry as identifying sourcing options within the United States proves to be crucial to business.

“The SFI acquisition serves as a major leap in Artistic Milliners’ evolution as a truly global denim company as it adds multiple dimensions to our operating model,” Artistic Milliners Chief Executive Officer and SFI co-founder Omer Ahmed said. “Not only does it give our brand partners a U.S.-based manufacturing option but also serves as a nucleus for co-creation and collaboration from fiber to garment at a scale and depth never witnessed before in our industry.”

Now, during its 72nd year in business, Artistic Milliners is blending its longstanding denim legacy with Los Angeles’ denim-making history through SFI to offer a process whose foundation relies upon supply chain 4.0 principles and 360 design development solutions.

“California has historically been an important cornerstone for the international denim industry,” Artistic Milliners Executive Director and SFI co-founder Murtaza Ahmed said. “This acquisition gives us a strategic foothold in the U.S. in a region with significant geographic and demographic advantages.”

Streamlining its denim-washing and -finishing processes stateside allows SFI to position itself for growth in the U.S. Current monthly capacity for SFI stands at 100,000 units, yet there are plans to increase this output to 300,000. In place at the SFI facility are capabilities for wet and dry processing in addition to technologies that afford a more-sustainable product, such as lasers, e-flow and ozone systems.

“In 2021, we anticipate increased demand from international retailers and brands for near-shoring capacity, digital design services and sustainable solutions,” Murtaza Ahmed explained. “Our investment in this factory gives us a launch platform in the U.S. to meet that demand as we build the factory of the future.”

While additional staff has been hired to support SFI’s growth, a number of the L.A.-based laundry’s existing employees have remained with the new company. SFI Chief Operating Officer Tony Rodriguez noted that business remained consistent during the tumult of 2020, a trend he expects to continue for the foreseeable future.

“Business has been steady in 2020, despite the pandemic, and we’ve seen no slowdown during the transition to SFI,” Rodriguez says. “We are looking forward to expanding our capabilities and capacities for existing customers and potential new business.”