Interview with Ahmed H. Shaikh, Azgard9: A li...
Interview with Ahmed H. Shaikh, Azgard9

A living and breathing piece of garment

Ahmed H. Shaikh (Source: Azgard 9)
Ahmed H. Shaikh (Source: Azgard 9)

The global textile industry is considered one of the world's biggest polluters. More and more textile and denim companies are focusing on sustainable fabric manufacturing and are rapidly adopting any new advances in fibers, dyes and chemicals, as well as improvements in process and supplies and recycling options into their operations. During Première Vision’s Digital Denim Week, held online in July 2021, many took the opportunity to showcase their latest activities.

A living and breathing piece of garment that absorbs carbon dioxide while simultaneously producing oxygen was introduced by Azgard9 at the Digital Denim Week 2021. Can you explain the principle of this fabric?

The aim was to show big fashion brands that a future with truly green solutions such as this is possible now. We treated this with microbial pigmentation, the hoodie behaves like a plant. It takes in carbon dioxide and turns it into glucose and oxygen, using photosynthesis micro-organisms. It improves the immediate environment of the wearer and produces approximately the same amount of oxygen as an oak tree.

What kind of applications can this textile be used for?

In order to explore more applications of this material it will be important to have an active discussions with the brands. This is a living organism that needs to be taken care of, a logistic process needs to be in place to make sure that the organism survives. The objective of making this garment of the future was exactly to create a dynamic between Azgard9 and our clients to see how we can use technology to contribute to a sustainable future in the fashion industry.

What could a sustainable textile and apparel industry look like in the future?

What we do today helps us built a better future tomorrow. Prognosticate what happens in the future is out of the question. When Covid hit it taught us to be headways for all the challenges we might have to face. Technological advancement in the apparel industry will change the norms of buying behavior and manufacturing process. A revolutionary interface would bring us closer to understanding the importance of a sustainable textile. The future is all about smart textiles. It’s not about just the product you wear but the wearable tech product. That would serve the need with focused purpose.

How do you see the role of the industry here, and what is the role of the consumer?

Indispensable, we are here to innovate and sustain on what we have established and keep our grasp on technological evolution. As in industry, our role here is to bring forth the value. How being smart we integrate our thoughts to make it alive and what impact does it have on the consumer and the planet. So it’s very important, defining and establishing the set of rules and following them.  We are in an era where scientific inventions have showed us the way to create a hybrid product. This benefits both the industry and the consumer. 

The consumer is fashion forward and believes in ethical transparency. Consumers’ adaptability towards sustainable fashion is the new norm. At the end of the day we all are consumers. We tend to consume what’s beneficial for us and that’s what we want for our forthcoming generations. So yes, together we create a better future. And that’s our role.

What will be the biggest challenges for the global textile industry after the Corona pandemic?

To prepare ourselves for an unprecedented crisis like this, I believe we need to understand the tenacity of it. This would be our foremost challenge. Additionally, the biggest challenge would be to restructure the strategic investments where we meet the potential demands and work on efficient lead times. The need for blockchain technology is what all the global textile industry has to look into.  Because the new normal would be better supply chain management.

The interview was conducted by Mechthild Maas, editor of TextileTechnology, with Ahmed Shaikh, CEO of Azgard9 Ltd., Lahore/Pakistan

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