MAS Holdings has opened a new US$5m factory dedicated to the production of clothing for Victoria's Secret's 'Pink Collegiate Collection,' which also calls on the group's lean manufacturing skills.

The MAS Linea Intimates facility in Pallekelle, in the Kandy district, is fully owned by MAS Holdings and has created 1,000 new jobs.

"The Pink Collegiate Collection consists of exclusive Collegiate co-branded merchandise for

57 universities in the US and the US Army and Navy through a licensing programme," explains Mr Dian Gomes, managing director and CEO of MAS Intimates. Garments include yoga pants, T-shirts, hoodies and yoga-bras with extensive embellishments.

The new factory will manufacture about 1.5m pieces of apparel a year for the line, which will be exported to the US. It is hoped that output will expand to 2.3m pieces in 2012.

Gomes says supplying the Collegiate Collection has called for changes to the traditional apparel factory operating model in Sri Lanka.

"Collegiate apparel has unique demands from the manufacturer. The apparel has a large number of prints and embellishments and also small order sizes for each licensing college. This is a dramatically different business model that required us to change our operations," he explains.

MAS says it has successfully harnessed the group's lean manufacturing capabilities to meet the new requirements.