More than two years in the making, the new Alaska Airlines uniform by designer Luly Yang has debuted at a fashion show at the company’s Sea-Tac hangar. The refreshed look, which takes styling cues from the sleek uniforms of Virgin America, follows the merger of of the two airlines after the acquisition of Virgin America by Alaska Airlines in December 2016.
The new collection features 90 garments and will be worn by the 19,000 employees of Alaska, Virgin America and Horizon Air-uniformed employees, including flight crew and attendants. Travellers looking forward to seeing the new uniforms will have to be patient, however. The roll-out is not expected to start until late in 2019, with the uniforms first being given 60-day trials by staff. The caution is perhaps understandable given the controversy about the new American Airlines uniform, where members of staff complained last year of having allergic reactions to the materials. The airline subsequently switched manufacturers.
“Luly’s designs perfectly capture our fresh, West Coast vibe and we’re absolutely thrilled with the collection,” said Sangita Woerner, Alaska Airlines’ vice president of marketing. “Like our refreshed brand, launched in early 2016, our new uniform collection includes bright pops of colour, clean lines and stunning finishes, creating a stylish yet approachable look.”
According to Yang: “What you see on the runway is actually a combination of the two cultures, Alaska and Virgin, coming together. We combine them to make something new and fresh and better than it was before.”
Thousands of employees were surveyed in the process of creating the new designs, with focus groups and work site visits. More pockets and tailoring to suit all body shapes and sizes were the most common requests, as well as clothing that performs well in different climates. The collection can be layered to allow employees to adjust for comfort while working in both freezing and tropical temperatures.