With more consumers aware of inclusivity, fashion is becoming more accessible to the differently abled community. This month, Pakistan-based denim mill AGI Denim launched two initiatives in support of individuals with disabilities, including braille-embroidered garments and sign language training for employees.
In honor of World Braille Day on Jan. 4, the mill designed denim apparel featuring braille-embroidered artwork with uplifting messages for the visually impaired. Using 3D embroidery and laser printing, AGI created a light wash denim kimono with tactile elements that both visually impaired and sighted individuals can enjoy. Kimonos were distributed to the visually impaired community in Karachi in partnership with NOWPDP, a Pakistan-based nonprofit serving people with disabilities.
NOWPDP previously worked with vertically integrated denim manufacturer Soorty for the launch of its program designed to create an inclusive workplace that embraces disabilities and diversity in the workforce.
According to Orbis, a U.S.-based nonprofit dedicated to preventing and treating the blind community, an estimated 43 million people live with blindness and 295 million people live with moderate-to-severe visual impairment around the world.
“Through these jackets, we want to address the difficulties that visually impaired people face in their lives, the inability to see, and the eagerness to build a sense of how the world looks,” an AGI representative said.
The company is also extending accessibility internally. AGI revisited its partnership with NOWPDP to develop sign language training for its team members, allowing supervisors, line managers and production staff to better communicate with employees with hearing and speech impairments.
Demand for greater accessibility has stretched throughout the fashion industry in recent years, with Tommy Hilfiger expanding its adaptive apparel line for adults and children with disabilities last spring. The collection includes staples like chinos, polo shirts, loungewear sets and a range of core denim staples with helpful modifications that make getting dressed less complicated. The heritage denim brand has published targets indicating that its accessibility initiatives will continue for years to come: By 2023, it will make its online shopping experience more inclusive, and will offer products in inclusive formats by 2022 and adaptive versions by 2025 across all categories.