Having an iconic look is important for the brand of any airline, but sometimes old designs need a refresh. Here are five carriers rolling out brand new staff uniforms
First things first, we must confess that we have previously included Hainan Airlines’ new Lawrence Xu-designed staff attire in our last roundup of new airline uniforms back in August last year.
Aside from the fact that the uniforms are just that impressive that they warrant another mention, but it was only last month that the new crew kit actually began seeing service on the airline’s flights, almost a year after they were first unveiled at the 2017 Lawrence Xu Haute Couture Show in Paris.
These are Hainan Airlines’ fifth generation of uniforms, keeping the previous iteration’s grey and white colour scheme but notably losing its yellow ties for male members of staff and red and yellow scarves for female members, in favour of mandarin-style collars.
Delta Air Lines
Speaking of delayed uniform rollouts, Hainan Airlines’ year-long gap between unveiling to launching pales in comparison to Delta Air Lines, which last month finally brought out its new staff attire – approximately three years after it was first unveiled.
Developed in partnership with New York-based designer, Zac Posen, the new clothing is the first uniform revamp the airline has had in a decade.
According to the airline, some 60,000 employees are expected to get the new uniforms, which have been through 86 hours of focus group sessions with staff prior to their launch.
Delta isn’t the only US carrier to get new threads for its members of staff. Alaska Airlines has spent the past two years developing a new uniform – designed by Luly Yang – and eventually unveiled the new creations in January this year at a fashion show at its Sea-Tac hangar.
The revamped clothing notably takes cues from the sleek uniforms of Virgin America, which Alaska Airlines acquired in December 2016, with Yang describing the new designs as a “combination of the two cultures, Alaska and Virgin, coming together”.
Despite the two-year wait to see the new clothing, Alaska Airlines is still not quite ready to roll it out, with the earliest date currently set for late 2019.
Yet another uniform developed in tandem with a renowned fashion designer, Alitalia’s new staff attire was unveiled earlier this month at the start of Milan Men’s Fashion Week.
Created by Italian fashion designer and dressmaker, Alberta Ferretti, the new threads (both men’s and women’s) are made using lightweight fine gauge blue wool. A particularly noticeable detail is the new silk twill foulards and ties, along with the gros-gain ribbons that feature as part of the women’s jackets.
But perhaps the most surprising thing about this revamp is its timing. Not only did Alitalia introduce new uniforms just two years ago as part of its relaunch under former investor Etihad Airways – according to Reuters, staff have complained about that uniform being too uncomfortable – but the Italian carrier is also at a point where it is under notable financial strain, having entered insolvency proceedings last year.
A rollout date for the uniforms hasn’t been announced.
From back-to-back revamps to possibly a much overdue one – Irish carrier Aer Lingus announced back in March that it would be redesigning its current teal green uniform, 20 years after it was first introduced.
Fans of the airline’s current staff clothing can rest easy, however, as the airline has brought back Irish fashion designer Louise Kennedy – who was behind the 1998 uniform – to create the new designs.
Aer Lingus says it aims to unveil the new designs in spring next year.
Which airline do you think has the best uniform? Let us know in the comments section below.