United Airlines has given us a first look at its new uniforms on Wednesday January 16, 2019. The new apparel was created in a partnership with fashion designer Tracy Reese, plus retailers Brooks Brothers and Carhartt, who have been working behind the scenes to craft the look and newly designed pieces since 2017.
The new line, for the carriers 70,000 front line employees, has its own colour palette – much like Delta’s new uniform – that includes colours like “United blue” (royal blue), “rhapsody blue” (navy blue), “Atlantic amethyst,” “premium purple,” “Pacific blue” (which many may see as turquoise) and “runway grey” all among a half-dozen hues United first teased last August. These new colours have already started to make it onto some of the airlines updated cabin interiors.
“United should stand toe-to-toe with any global airline in terms in of how good their employees look and the quality of their uniforms,” Reese said to USA TODAY’s Today in the Sky blog.
“We wanted them to be proud of what they’re wearing, but I also I didn’t want to be cookie-cutter like the typical uniforms that are out there,” Brooks Brothers designer Brian Lane added about the challenge of perfecting the new look.
He said it was important to present workers with something that would give them an emotional lift. “When you get on the plane, they’re the first people you see,” Lane said. “They want to express their pride and their uniform to the customer who comes in. Because at the end of the day, flying is still something special.”
The new designs for flight attendants and customer-service agents will feature some of the most sweeping changes to United’s current colour scheme, which is heavy on neutral blues and greys.
A Brooks Brothers-designed blazer that male flight attendants will wear is one of the most distinctive pieces in the new collection for frontline employees. A stripe of runway grey material snappily accents the jacket collar, with the same colour piping on the blazer pockets. Purplish “Atlantic Amethyst” ties finish off the look.
Female flight attendants will be outfitted with a Ruana wrap, a trendy shawl that is popular in the women’s fashion world these days. Female flight attendants also will wear a rhapsody blue dress accented with swatches of Atlantic amethyst and United blue material at the top.
Meanwhile, Customer service uniforms will include United’s signature “Rhapsody Blue” as the main colour, but they also have pops of United’s bright teal-like colour dubbed “Pacific Blue.”
Initially, the new uniforms will be hard to spot. While they’re in the wear-testing trials, with some 1,300 employees taking part, the new pieces will sport a neutral blue and grey colour scheme that’s similar to United’s current look.
Pilots, flight attendants and customer-service crews are expected to begin wearing new-look uniforms in late 2020, allowing time for any tweaks that result from wear-testing feedback. The ground-crew uniforms, made by Carhatt, are slated to roll out late this year following the current testing from those employees.
Brooks Brothers will manufacture and supply both the men’s and women’s uniforms for the rest of the employees. Reese handled the design of women’s clothes while Brooks Brothers handle the men’s designs.
United faces some stiff completion in the mile-high style stakes with stunning new uniforms coming from Alaska Airlines by Luly Yang and of course Zac Posen for Delta. While the airline has had some iconic uniforms through the years, sadly this one doesn’t seem to have the same impact. What are your thoughts on the new pieces?
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