Atlantic Mills might more accurately be called Pacific Mills, given its location in Bangkok, Thailand, however both the facility and the family that owns it have a history in denim that precedes its name.
Atlantic Mills was originally part of U.S. based textile manufacturer Burlington and was located in Longford, Ireland. When Burlington went bankrupt in 1997, the current owners saw this as an opportunity to purchase the machinery and move the business to their hometown in Bangkok.
Amrin Sachathep, director of Atlantic Mills, explained that though his family is of Indian descent, they have lived in Thailand since the early 1930s and used to trade denim from Italy and Japan.
Atlantic is now a global brand with offices across the Americas, Europe and Asia. Sachathep said that he sees Asia as a growth market with a growing middle class and a healthier shopping economy. In addition, he says they are in a constant move to buy better product.
Atlantic currently works with all tiers of brands, but is placing a special emphasis on small, upcoming brands, as Atlantic sees a strong future for independent retailers and online business. They have an office based out of London that caters to these brands.
Sachathep said that the mill’s prevalence internationally and across markets is due to the fact that they have made a premium name for themselves worldwide. He said, “We simply do not make sacrifices in cotton picking, the weave and construction, or finishing.”
The company also works very deliberately and sticks to its values rather than jumping on trends. This is why Atlantic Mills waited until Denim PV in 2016 to launch an athleisure collection. “We believe a lot in natural fibers, especially cotton, and felt the market was moving too quickly towards polymers, which tend to not be as comfortable to wear,” Sachathep said.
Sachathep said that the mill experimented with knit items by producing rope-dyed indigo knit tops with 80/2 constructions. Then they moved into dualFX technology and sateen weaves, dense enough that you are unable to see the warp yarn in the back.
Atlantic is also dedicated to innovation in denim. They have a line made with the product from shredded post-consumer jeans, reused in the weft yarns. Sachathep said the challenge of this fabric is that recycled cotton is weaker, but the mill has still managed to create a fabric with 25 percent recycled cotton.
As the market has moved to buying product of lesser weight, they have begun to venture into many specialty fibers including Modal, Tencel, Dyneema, Cordura, hemp, linen, bamboo, wool and more.
For AW 17/18, Sachathep said that they are also making denim with wool and hemp. He said, “We believe in the fiber very strongly because the fiber is strong, long-lasting, pesticide-free and requires a lot less water to produce.” We used wool in selvedges, and added neps to give the fabric a more premium look. Most importantly, the wool was in the weft yarn, which would give comfort during the cold months.
Almost all of the selvedge we produce now are with stretch, which gives the added comfort to the consumer. Dual-core has also played a very important role in our stretch products as it gives the added feature of recovery, so you can wear your jeans everyday without it bagging out.
Sachathep said, “We want our product to be treasured amongst wearers who are proud to see it evolve over time, looking better day by day.”