Big-name fashion designers are getting a piece of the corporate pie by designing for major airlines and corporates. Trading Paris runways for actual runways at airports, designers like Zac Posen are launching chic and sophisticated uniforms for major American Airline, Delta. Other designers who have tackled the same industry include Ettore Bilotta for Turkish Airlines, Alberta Ferretti for Alitalia, Laurence Xu for Hainan Airlines and Martin Grant for Qantas, featuring supermodel Miranda Kerr modeling the range in a TV commercial.
It is not new for airlines to collaborate with the fashion world. In the 1960s, Braniff Airlines partnered with renowned Italian designer Emilio Pucci and in the 80s, Air France partnered with Christian Dior to design staff uniforms. And why shouldn’t they? Flight attendants have always looked stylish, and air travel is still associated with a luxury image and a high-end experience, even today with wide commercialization.
With regard to his collaboration with Delta, Posen says, “I’ve been inspired by the employees themselves in this experience of building the collection, really inspired by their endurance. Service is something I value. I believe when you feel good in what you’re wearing, that projects into the work you do and creates a better experience.”
Other designers have tackled the hotel industry, creating luxurious uniform designs that reflect the glamourous five-star experience! The Park Hyatt in New York, for example, partnered with Narciso Rodriguez to develop a minimalistic design. The Rosewood in London also collaborated with Nicholas Oakwell to reflect the cultural heritage and the Shangri-La Toronto reflects its Oriental influences as part of designer Sunny Fong’s designs.
When we reflect on the great examples of collaboration between high fashion and workwear, it is also crucial to consider function and feel. If a uniform looks magnificent yet is completely impractical, then the staff will look awkward when wearing it and only bring a disservice to the beautiful uniform they are wearing. During the uniform design process with Focus, we will start with the form (design) that a customer would like. From there Focus brings in its expertise and draws on its over 35 years of industry experience to source the most appropriate fabrics, features and uniform patterns/ blocks for the working individual.
For example, one of our cosmetics brands has recently had a beautiful uniform designed for them by a high-end designer. However, the fabrics that were chosen were rigid and didn't breathe and the fit of the garment was better suited to a runway model than the average fit. Focus was immediately able to identify some wonderful fabrics that had movement in them without sacrificing the beautiful design that was created for them. We also made some slight alterations to the fit of the garments so that they were more relevant to an Australian standard fit, rather than a fit designed for a catwalk.