Dubai Desert Studio: Boutique Manufacturing

WGSN visits the Desert Studio Dubai, a new boutique manufacturing and finishing plant in the heart of the desert.

We’ve just published a report on the site exploring the latest sustainable technologies currently driving the denim market. These days it’s becoming increasingly integral to a denim company’s success that they address the environmental short-fallings in the industry and approach the art of jeans-making with a conscience.

So the new set-up in the Dubai desert, with its unrivaled collection of waterless laundry equipment piqued our interest. Owned by Pakistani operation Denim Clothing Company, also owners of Hantex (the Pakistani mill) the new plant was the brainchild of owner CEO Mr Munaf, who wanted to address several issues with the opening:

  • Safer and smarter working conditions
  • Leading technology and innovation
  • A strong focus on sustainability, particularly waterless initiatives
  • Fast turn-around and increased creativity and communication with clients
  • A location that links both the east and the west

Dubai was chosen specifically because of its location with regards to many denim markets: slap-bang in the center of global shipping routes to enable work with both the far-east and the west. Dubai is essentially a desert and water is often jokingly referred to as being as expensive as gold out there, so to open a laundry house that uses a large majority of waterless technology seemed fitting. And here’s an impressive statistic for you: Desert Studio saves approximately four million liters of water each and every month.

So how do they do this? The company works very closely with people like Jeanologia, who provide their laser machines, including an impressive double head laser as well as a flat-bed. They use ozone technology (a total of 6 G1 machines from Tonello), a margarita machine from Mactec, as well as Brongo washers.

The ecological attitude doesn’t stop there; also within our sustainable report just published this week, we talk about Orta and Garmon Chemical’s new GreenScreen initiative, a methodology freely available to identify chemical hazards used in denim, and to enable companies to choose safer chemicals. The famous Italian chemical company has bravely made their entire chemical range open to Greenscreen and has therefore eradicated anything harmful from the range. Desert Studios use only Garmon chemicals, ensuring that every aspect of their finishing follows this new industry standard.

The other aim for this plant is more of a creatively driven one. Designers out there used to putting collections into work, working with spec packs and wash targets will have surely come across various frustrations with procedures on occasion! While we were visiting the studio, product developers were working on some samples for Denim PV, and turn-around was ridiculously efficient. The sampling team is made up of about 120 workers, and pieces were being made up, treated, laundered and finished in two-three hours. Munaf’s aim is to have designers come out to Dubai and work on their ranges in one concentrated session, cutting out wasted time as well as the wasted resources in over sampling and essentially turning the Desert Studios into a denim designer’s playground. Production is at 820 people, enabling a capacity of 250,000 per month so despite being a boutique set-up, the volume is pretty decent.

The Dubai Desert Studio is glimpse into the future of smart denim manufacturing: creating very little wasted energy, water resources and time. If the denim industry is to move into the future and properly address our current environmental impact, set-ups like these should be the industry standard. For now it seems like the desert is where its at!


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