Delta Reveals New Uniforms By Zac Posen

Delta and leading New York fashion designer Zac Posen together unveiled an exclusive uniform collection today, which will be rolled out to more than 60,000 of the airline’s frontline employees including customer service agents, flight attendants, ramp agents and technicians.

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From the Delta Hub, the airline states the uniforms combine “bold color palettes and classic styles, while paying homage to the heritage and iconic design from decades past to elevate the look and brand of Delta employees.”

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The uniforms from non-customer facing employees were developed by clothing retailer Land’s End with design inspiration and colour consultation from Posen.

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“The world’s best employees deserve the best uniforms and this new collection is classically influenced, yet modern,” said Ed Bastian, Delta’s CEO. “Zac and the Delta team worked closely with our people to create timeless and fashionable pieces that reflect the thoughtful and innovative spirit of Delta.”

The new mix of colours certainly break free from the traditional sea of Navy uniforms in the sky and include new colours dubbed Passport Plum, Cruising Cardinal and Groundspeed Graphite, with accents of Skyline Slate and Traveling Thistle to bring a cohesive look across customer-facing and technical job functions.

Subtle details including a signature winged collar on the women’s ‘Traveling Thistle’ blouse, the Delta logo, also known as the widget, accented throughout the collection and for non-customer-facing employees, reflective Delta widgets on high-visibility outerwear.

Some of the items in the lineup for flight attendants and customer service agents include a feminine Passport Plum V-neck dress, peplum sweater, wrap dress, ottoman skirt suit and swing jacket. For men, a Groundspeed Graphite three-piece suit, Passport Plum crew neck sweater and widget-printed tie, among other pieces. In fact, eager eyes may see similarities in the mens suits with their sister carrier Virgin Atlantic’s threads from Vivienne Westwood.

For technical employees working on the airport ramp or in Delta’s TechOps division, a mid-layer sweater, three-in-one ANSI jacket and rapid-dry polo shirt are among the lineup.

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Beginning in December and into early 2017, a dedicated team of 1,000 employee ambassadors will wear-test the uniforms. From there, adjustments and tweaks will be made based on employee feedback before the uniforms roll out to Delta people worldwide in the first quarter of 2018.

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Delta last updated its uniform collection for above wing employees including flight attendants and airport customer service agents, in 2006 with designs by Richard Tyler. The airline last updated its uniform collection for below wing employee employees, including technical operations employees and ramp agents, in 2000.

What is interesting to see is a purposeful shift from Delta’s iconic red and navy blue that has made the brand somewhat iconic. Do we like it? There are elements that we think work well, such as the bold shapes and silhouettes in the women’s uniforms, however the men’s uniforms seem disconnected from the rest of the wardrobe. Overall, the jury is out for now. Tell us what you think!

The Big Picture

15 comments

  1. Nice to see that Delta has moved away from the ‘US carriers must wear navy suits’ phase to show some colour and some diversity in shapes and styles. I tend to like the previous red dress work of the last designer but I must say I like the some of the details and the unique purple colour. Glad they kept the red but the women’s red pant suit is a bit much…the wrap dress was more elegant and looked better on wider range of women.

  2. Kenneth

    Is Delta kidding?!

    How many astoundingly hideous uniform pieces has Zac Posen come up with? And in colours that have nothing to do with each other, or the airline’s brand – unless Delta is merging with Wizz Air.

    Why not just let Delta employees wear their own clothes to work? Because this new uniform is made-up of so many different garments, in so many different colours, that during the course of a flight, customers are going to have a difficult time distinguishing between employees and other travelers. Passport Plum, Cruising Cardinal, Groundspeed Graphite, Skyline Slate, Traveling Thistle… STOP! Uniforms are meant to be UNIFORM!

    If these garments look this ill-fitting, this dated, this oddly unrelated, this downright BAD, on men and women who have been professionally groomed and photographed, how are they going to look on the average employee, who just gets up in the morning and throws their uniform on? (Not forgetting those employees who take so little pride in their appearance that they show-up for work looking as though they slept in their uniform, as seems to be the case with half the flight attendants every time I fly a U.S. major.)

    This is truly one of the worst airline uniform disasters I’ve witnessed since beginning my airline career back in 1974. A busy, confusing mess.

    Why didn’t Delta simply look to their classier partners, Air France/KLM and Virgin Atlantic, and realize that LESS is always MORE.

  3. Kevin

    Love the new DELTA uniforms. These are so, so much better then American or United. Love the purple (plum). Blue + Red = Purple. How could someone miss that? Very surprised.

  4. Kevin

    Have to add though, that I only like the retro purple style. Not into the red stripe uniform, or the other designs.

  5. I was immediately excitedat first, as they look incredible: classy, elegant, interesting colours and just something you wouldn’t expect from an American airline. There are so many elements that I like, such as the fitted jackets with epaulettes, the male FA uniform which screams Grand Budapest Hotel (totally living for), elegant colours in combination with golden details, the intricate winged collar.

    Now that I’ve let it sink a little, I have to agree in some extent with Kenneth: there are a lot of garments and (especially with the gentlemen) some of the uniforms in these pictures are really ill-fitting/badly tailored. The trousers for example are way too long. For press release photos, you would expect that they tailored them accordingly. I’m not a huge fan of a turtle neck in combination with a suit, but it certainly has a ‘retro-vibe’ to it. I’m also confused as who wears what. Are the red uniforms (red pant suit and the red blazer with skirt) for flight attendants? They feel so disconnected to the other purple uniforms. The red pant suit looks like it belongs to Kenya Airways, and the red blazer/skirt to Cathay Pacific. But nothing beats the dress in the first picture: so glamorous, retro-chic and sophisticated! Hollywood-classy at its finest. Give these uniforms the proper tailoring for every individual, update the grooming standards/manual (set hese press pictures as the example) and than we’re talking.

    • I’ve found my answer on Delta’s Flickr account : the red uniforms are for the service agents above the wing. So yeah, it’s indeed a more uniform look. Good job Delta and Zack Posen

  6. Similar colors of uniforms LATAM, and that is not in accordance with the colors of Delta. Unfortunately.

  7. David McDonald

    Why do US airlines insist on so many variations of uniform? It looks mess, unprofessional and makes it hard distinguishing who is staff and who is not. I like the purple but how does it fit into the delta brand which is red and blue? And i despise the mens sweater.

  8. I consider the current Delta branding/identity, coupled with the Richard Tyler uniforms, as one of the strongest airline rebrands that rank up there with the classics of yesteryear. The devil’s in the details; the branding looks deceptively simple and thin, but in application holds up surprisingly well, much better than many other identity projects, and with practical concerns still in mind, brought the unity and modernity Delta needed to convey in the moment to fit with zeitgeist. You can compare the effects to the far inferior UA/CO-merger rebranding and IMO the AA rebranding also.

    This new uniform collection really, very neatly and with great hubris and force, dismantles the good work of those 2 projects into a sea of debris floating on jet-A somewhere in a far off ocean (that’s the color palette isn’t it), and the net effect is as confounding as the US public discourse in this election year. 🙂

    I’m going to miss the Richard Tyler collection when it goes — especially the red dress.

  9. These designs look like a throwback to the 50’s. Horrific IMO. I love Delta and it’s employees. My heart breaks for all of you. To Zac Posen – In my best Heidi Klum voice – I’m sorry, you’re out!

  10. James

    IMHO this is Delta trying to have a more “Virgin” look, giving its commercial partnership across the Atlantic.

  11. Jay

    lets hope that with these new uniforms they treat passengers properly and not like garbage

  12. Maria

    We’re seriously still putting female flight attendants in heels? Give me a break, Delta.

  13. Pingback: Linked: Delta Uniforms - BrandCrap

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