Nope, this isn’t the press shot from the latest Star Trek franchise, these are the new threads that will adorn 70,000 employees across United’s operations. The new designs follow last year’s announcement of their new partnerships with Tracy Reese, Brooks Brothers and Carhartt. Focusing on high quality fabrics, improved breathability and overall enhanced fit, United’s goal was to develop a more cohesive collection that “looks good, feels good and enables employees to perform at their best on behalf of our customers.”
While each department has a different colour palette and design, the collection seems to miss the mark of ‘cohesive’ as these different departments could almost be from completely different airlines. But for Tracy Reese, putting the needs and requirements of the staff was key. Which may explain why each department was seemingly designed in isolation.
“I’m excited for United employees and customers to see the designs we’ve been hard at work on, and for employees to begin to wear-test these new looks to test their fit and function. I’ve traveled the world with United to meet with thousands of employees to better understand their job duties and hear first-hand what is needed in a uniform so that these women look and feel good, but most importantly – perform at their best.”
The main cohesive element that does run through the collection is the base colour, Rhapsody Blue, however pops of colour from the airline’s new brand palette will accentuate each design and easily differentiate each work group for its customers. “From new patterns to coloured inseams and kick pleats, our new uniforms will be uniquely United,” which includes the famous ‘Hawaiian’ outfits for their island routes.
However, a navy blue base colour isn’t exactly unique, no matter how it is named. A huge proportion of carriers use navy as part of their colour palette for uniforms, and with the disparate approach to the styling and other coloured elements, there is still some work to go to to bring the whole collection together a little more.
More than 1,300 pilots, flight attendants and customer service representatives will soon begin wear testing pieces, which will focus on the fit and function of each garment and will not include the new colour palette, to ensure the proposed uniforms meet the needs of day-to-day duties. It’s interesting to see United commit to the statement “While not a full representation of the final uniform program – we’ll continue to refine designs based on employee feedback,” as it allows the carrier the opportunity to refine the suite of threads.