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When denim minds merge, it often means a beautiful thing.
That’s what happened when the Phlaphongphanit and Sachathep families joined forces to develop Atlantic Mills Thailand Company. The families’ apparel knowledge goes back as far as the 30s.
Those decades of learning how to deliver on consumer demand have made Atlantic Mills successful, but it’s also a tight family bond that’s brought the business to where it is today.
Carved in Blue revisted Atlantic Mills director Amrin Sachathep to find out more about the family ties that bind the mill in blue.
Carved in Blue: Which family members are working at Atlantic?
Amrin: Atlantic Mills is run by two separate families who have joined together post our textile trading era, which dated back to 1935. The Phlaphongphanit family and the Sachathep family. We each contribute to 50 percent of the company.
Carved in Blue: What’s it like working with your family?
Amrin: While we have to contend with intricate politics, we find benefits working as a family. Decisions are taken a lot quicker in developing a new product or having to upgrade machinery for the fast-paced fashion industry we live in today.
Carved in Blue: What was your first impression of the denim business when you started?
Amrin: Denim was considered the most premium wardrobe clotheswear one needed to wear. Seven for All Mankind, Chip & Pepper, Mudd Jeans, Rock & Republic, Paper Denim & Cloth were must-haves. It was an exciting time and everyone wanted to start their own denim line. The brands were finally adapting to having some stretch in their product line. It was back in 2003 when I had joined the company, one year after it had started.
Carved in Blue: Did you always want to go into the denim business?
Amrin: I personally studied biomedical engineering, which was as far from denim business as one could be. But engineering taught me to be all-rounded. And as my family had grown from the textile trade, it was inevitable that at one point in my life, I had to join the company. So as I was looking for a job post-graduation, I worked part-time at Atlantic Mills. And later it became a full-time job.
Carved in Blue: Do you want your children to follow in your footsteps?
Amrin: I am convinced I will have no say in what my children will want to become. But I would like for them to do what they love. Being passionate about the work you do makes a huge difference in being able to accomplish all of the goals you have in your life.
Carved in Blue: When did you realize you are a blueblood?
Amrin: Having learnt the tricks of biomedical engineering, I was able to transfuse blue into my body on the first day of my job. And as they say, once you’ve turned indigo, there’s no turning back!
Carved in Blue: What is the best advice you received from your family?
Amrin: Never neglect your family as they help you soar.
Carved in Blue: What do you think the future holds for the denim industry?
Amrin: Denim is going through its toughest times at the moment, as brick-and-mortar stores close, and consumers move to online sales. Brands will keep less inventory and depend on quicker manufacturing cycles to adapt to quicker fashion statements. The key is innovation and speed, which will be helped with the technology of robotics. The future looks exciting as soon consumers will be able to design their own jeans from a computer screen, produced on the other side of the world, and have it delivered to them by drones.
Carved in Blue: What does Carved in Blue mean to you?
Amrin: The right balance of sustainability, transparency and the richness of indigo and its roots.