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Mill Spotlight: Sapphire Finishing Mills

Published on May 20, 2022
Sapphire Finishing Mills is a state-of the-art woven dyeing, finishing and printing facility offering LYCRA® fiber products.
Learn about this family-owned business in Pakistan that recently teamed up with The LYCRA Company to assist in the development of new LYCRA® DUAL COMFORT technology.

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Sapphire Finishing Mills (Sapphire) launched in 2001. Since then, it has established itself as a state-of the-art woven dyeing, finishing and printing facility. This family-owned business is part of the Sapphire Group that was founded in 1970 by Mian Muhammad Abdullah. This billion-dollar company offers a wide range of services (spinning, weaving, knitting, dyeing/printing, and garment manufacturing) and products (denim, wovens, home textiles, knits) for leading garment makers and brands around the world. We recently interviewed Mohsin Bokhari, Chief Operating Officer (photo right), to learn more. This interview was edited for clarity.

Sapphire played a part in the development of new LYCRA® DUAL COMFORT technology for non-denim and ready-to-wear. Can you talk about the product development process and what it’s like working with The LYCRA Company? 

It was one of the most organized, well thought out and focused product development exercises we had with any company. The product knowledge, information sharing, and support was exceptional. The LYCRA Company and Sapphire product development teams challenged, stretched, and pushed each other to the limit, which is critical to successful innovation. Working on product innovation with a learned and professional team from The LYCRA Company provided our own product development team with an excellent learning opportunity.


What are your technical capabilities and core business today and what makes you unique?

Sapphire was purposefully designed to service a diversified product portfolio. The hardware we selected supported innovation, diversified processes, and the ability to process various substrate blends. Dyeing, printing, coating, lamination, and a variety of performance enhancement finishes are all done in-house. This enables us to cater to the needs of fashion, workwear, outdoor and tactical creators. In addition, we are determined to lead by example and take the wet processing industry to the next level.

We’re a one-stop shop designed to meet all our customers’ needs. We strive to achieve customer satisfaction delivered through a variety of innovative and tailor-made products, in addition to offering the highest level of pre- and post-sale services.

What advancements and innovations do you see in the future of the woven and ready-to-wear industry?

A merger of performance and comfort is the writing on the wall. With the emergence of new product categories like athleisure and workletic, we feel that lines between traditional product categories are getting blurred. In the near future, there will be a need to develop versatile clothing lines with one product suitable for different usage occasions.


What consumer trends and lifestyle changes are you noticing in the marketplace and how are you adapting to meet them?

L4S is what we call it: lighter, stronger, softer, stretchier, and smarter. As stated above, there is a need to develop a product range that will satisfy a wider range of needs for the modern consumer. Sapphire is working to develop products to meet this need with industry leaders like The LYCRA Company.


What are your best-selling fabrics and which LYCRA® brand fibers do they use?

Our best-selling products are our core bottom-wear lines, which are purchased by some of the biggest and most sought-after brands and retailers in the world. These fabrics are made using LYCRA® fiber and LYCRA® dualFX® technology.  We have also successfully marketed and sold fabrics produced using LYCRA® DUAL COMFORT technology made with LYCRA® T400® fiber.

The production floor at Sapphire Mills, where woven fabrics powered by LYCRA® brand spandex solutions are produced.

Is the current cotton situation changing your product mix? Are you adding more man-made and fiber-based fabrics to your collection?

Cotton stretch is still the largest chunk of our business, but there is a shift towards more man-made fibers. I believe major factors include sustainability and growing demand for functional performance fabrics. Some would say price is a factor, but I wouldn’t. As a company, we are preparing for this shift.


What is Sapphire Mills’ approach to sustainability?

Our approach is proactive and it is three-fold. We are introducing sustainable materials in our product line, for example: Better Cotton Initiative cotton, organic cotton, recycled PET polyester and environment friendly dyes and chemicals. We are also investing in reducing energy requirements for our processing, and we moved away from fossil fuel with our bio-fuel switch project that produced steam through biomass. Finally, our manufacturing sites are STeP by OEKO-TEX® certified so we can offer environmentally-friendly products to our clients.


What are your long-term objectives and growth drivers to achieve them?

We want to continue to remain one step ahead of the competition in terms of product innovation, sustainability, and customer satisfaction. We are making intelligent investments in capability and capacity development to ensure that we have no limitations when it comes to delivering the right product at the right time.


Brands/retailers and garment makers: Are you interested in sourcing innovative fabrics that are helping companies like yours drive sales and customer satisfaction? You can source Sapphire Mills’ LYCRA® brand certified fabrics right now on the LYCRA ONE™ portal. Not a member yet? Setting up an account is fast and free! Click LOG IN to get started.

LYCRA®, dualFX®, T400® and LYCRA ONE™ are trademarks of The LYCRA Company.

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