Delta Says “No More Navy” When it Comes to Flight Attendant Uniforms

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If we think back to the golden age of travel, one of the first things that come to mind are those iconic flight attendant outfits. Navy blue two piece combinations with a matching pillbox hat – à la Panam – could be viewed as the ultimate symbol of an era that communicates the glamour and luxury that was so associated with air travel. Such an image conjures up a sort of nostalgia, they seem to belong to an era that has gone. However, Delta Airlines has recently brought back some retro flair.

The airline has teamed up with fashion designer Zac Posen to redesign their employees’ uniforms. The previous uniforms, which were blue, will now be a deep plum shade. The decision was made when Delta reportedly told Posen “No more navy”, citing the common use of the color among other airlines. The uniforms, colored in “Passport Plum”, were manufactured by Lands’ End and seem to draw heavily from the styles of the past.

Posen’s designs are comprised of slim silhouettes, pencil skirts, and small details such as scarves and handkerchiefs. All of which seem to be call backs to that old world elegance. Posen himself explained the collection, stating “I believe deeply in the power of glamour and the experience and the excitement of flying. And definitely the nostalgia of the golden age of it, but [designing these uniforms] was really by taking that essence and creating a new future.”

According to Runway Girl Network, the fabrics of used within the uniforms are made with “high fashion technology” such as “rip-resistance, plenty of stretch, wrinkle and stain resistance, anti-microbial finishes, water-proof and water-repellant, deodorizing, wind proof, anti-static and moisture-wicking properties.” Delta reportedly chose the unique color as a homage to the blue and red in their logo that has been used in uniforms of the past, thus the perfect mixture of purple.

The designs come after three years of focus groups and surveys. Delta’s strategic director of sourcing, Ekrem Dimbilogu, said that, “This is something that you wear all day, potentially for 14 hours a day, for a decade. It’s got to be timeless and functional.” Dimbilogu cites the reasoning behind the company’s decision to partner with Posen as being that he is an American designer, which coincides with Delta’s image as an American airline, as well as the fact that he was receptive of feedback during the process.

This is the is the first redesign that the uniforms of above-wing employees have had since 2006, below-wing uniforms have not had a redesign since 2000. It is worth noting that the below-wing uniforms were not designed by Posen, but by Lands’ End instead. However, the company chose to follow Posen’s example.

This decision certainly does mean a change in how Delta might brand itself, and there has been speculation as to whether passport plum will make its way into other aspects of the company. Tim Mapes, senior vice president and chief marketing officer, has been noted as perhaps implying that passport plum will make an appearance in Delta SkyClubs and the Delta app. However, he asserts that the company does not mean to completely revamp their logo. “What we are not trying to do is make Passport Plum ubiquitous to the point where we lose the personality of the human who’s behind it,” says Mapes. “So it’s really about our Delta employees being the star today, not the color.”

One thing is certain though, and it is that Passport Plum is a pleasant change. Perhaps we might similar efforts amongst other airlines.

Featured Image via Wikimedia Commons

Proud Latina Feminist. My likes include strong coffee, watching the previews that come on before the movie, and things that come in pretty packages. I've been a bibliophile and fashion lover since well before I could read or tie my own shoes.

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