Twinery – Innovations by MAS rolls ‘Lable>’ in partnership with Linea Aqua
South Asia’s largest apparel-tech company CEO Ranil Vitarana says: “We need to push society to be more inclusive of persons with disabilities.”
In a move to break the barriers that prevent persons with disabilities from better integrating into society, Twinery – Innovations by MAS – the changemakers of innovative clothing across the world, together with Linea Aqua, aim to break through the stigma surrounding disability by changing the narratives that discriminate.
MAS Twinery – Innovations CEO Ranil Vitarana said: “We need to push society to be more inclusive of persons with disabilities to ensure fair representation.
Discriminative terminology makes it difficult for persons with disabilities to better integrate into society. Frequently used terminology like, ‘invalid, crippled, special, differently-abled, handicapped’ and many more of such, tend to be presumptuous and limiting. Sri Lanka needs to lead this important change. And we can.”
In Sri Lanka, nearly 9% of the population live with some form of disability. The situation around the world is even greater. According to WHO statistics, an estimated 16% of the global population or more than 1.3 billion people experience a significant disability today, and only 29% are engaged in the workforce. Whereas, in Switzerland, 1.8 million people live with a disability and 72% are engaged in the workforce, said Linea Aqua CEO Muditha Ferdinando.
The WHO states that the number is growing because of an increase in non-communicable diseases and people living longer. Persons with disabilities are a diverse group, and factors such as sex, age, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, race, ethnicity and economic situation affect their experiences in life and their health needs. Disabilities range from physically visible disabilities, such as the loss or malfunctioning of a body part, to invisible disabilities that impact a person’s cognitive or emotive state.
“Today, the act of wearing everyday clothing is a challenge for persons with disabilities,” Vitarana continued. “They’ve lived their lives with labels that confine, repress and shame, and clothing labels that still believe in a one-form-fits-all philosophy. We ought to do better, because we believe that our words and abilities don’t define us, but our actions do. This is how the brand, ‘LABLE>’ was born. “These are clothes designed to empower, crafted to be accessible, easy to wear, and open up new opportunities of freedom for those who led lives of dependence thus far. The designs are universal but they have adaptive capabilities embedded into everyday clothing.”
The recent launch event for Lable> was in itself a change, with performance poetry articulated by persons with disabilities followed by a panel discussion addressing many issues including, Distinction between pity and empathy, Shame versus stigma surrounding disabilities, Working with a disability, How clothes are perceived around disability, How assumptions around disability lead to discrimination and The importance of communication when it comes to disability.
“Our aim is to change the terminology around disabilities and shift the narrative to empower disability and diversity, thereby ensuring inclusivity,” Vitarana added.
The Lable> team is made up of thought leaders who are a specialised team across strategic business units in design, pattern making, sourcing, product development, marketing, consumer research consultants and medical experts. The products have been co-created and tested with over 450 MAS-employed persons with disabilities, the Sri Lankan Paralympic Team and the company’s growing US Consumer Group made up of persons with disabilities.
MAS Holdings – the holding company of Twinery – Innovations by MAS is the largest apparel-tech company in South Asia and is a leading concept-to-delivery solutions provider in apparel and textile manufacturing for some of the world’s leading brands. The company has for over three decades expanded its capabilities to include the manufacture of materials and components required to build an innovative and vertically integrated supply chain. This was accomplished by partnering with industry leaders in their respective domains, to bring in the knowledge and expertise required. Twinery, the innovations arm of MAS, was recognised by Fast Company as the 18th best workplaces for innovators in the world in 2022.
“Our MAS ecosystem allows us to create adaptive clothing that’s inclusive and accessible. From concept to store, our design, intellectual property, consumer testing and validation, manufacturing services and beyond, enables clothing labels across the world to cater to anyone with a permanent disability or temporary setback, so that they could snap, pull and zip into a new world of possibilities all on their own terms,” Linea Aqua CEO Ferdinando added.