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Delta Air Lines One Step Closer to Rolling Out New Uniform – By Destroying 1,000 Test Garments

Delta Air Lines One Step Closer to Rolling Out New Uniform – By Destroying 1,000 Test Garments

Delta Air Lines One Step Closer to Rolling Out New Uniform - By Destroying 1,000 Test Garments

It’s been over two years in the making but Atlanta-based, Delta Air Lines is one step closer to finally rolling out its new, designer staff uniform.  It’s a mammoth task, with 60,000 frontline employees set to wear the upgraded uniform – a task that Delta no doubt doesn’t want to get wrong.

The last thing they’ll want is a repeat of the American Airlines uniform fiasco – thousands of flight attendants and other airline staffers have complained of the AA uniform making them sick.  The airline has already said it will be dropping Men’s Warehouse as its uniform supplier when the contract comes up for renewal.  An expensive mistake that has caused a PR nightmare for American.

Luckily, Delta has learnt from the mistakes of its competitor and is taking the design, implementation and rollout of its new uniform much more slowly.  Some might say, too slowly but when there’s so much at stake who would want to make that mistake.  Here’s how it’s gone so far…

First came the ‘Cross-Divisional Uniform Committee’ – a group of managers and airline employees who were involved in the design, concept and providing feedback for the new uniform.  Employees even had a say in who would supply the clothing.

That, it turns out was the popular lifestyle brand, Lands End – selected in part, because their “amazing” corporate culture mirrors that of Delta’s.  Chad Holmes, a Delta ramp agent explained: “Lands’ End brought us innovative designs and fabrics, and their team was truly passionate about creating the most functional, high-quality uniform pieces.”

He continued: “Throughout the design process, they listened to our needs through job shadows and focus groups.”  A big bonus for Delta will be the Lands End unconditional guarantee – A promise that Lands End simply calls ‘Guaranteed.Period.’

Then came the design genius behind the uniforms.  That task was taken on by acclaimed fashion designer Zac Posen.  The 36-year-old American designer, best known for his red carpet looks worn by the likes of Naomi Campbell, Beyonce and Jennifer Lopez spent 18 months creating the collection for a broad range of Delta employees.

“This new collection is the future… We’re changing the game in the industry,” commented Delta’s CEO, Ed Bastian.  The collection fuses together bold color palettes with classic style to create a cohesive but distinct look for different employee groups.

The designs even brought with them new color names – We now have Passport Plum, Cruising Cardinal and Groundspeed Graphite, with accents of Skyline Slate and Traveling Thistle.

Gil West, Delta’s Senior Executive Vice President, called the collection “a strong brand statement” – which sounds like a recipe for disaster.  But Delta hasn’t left anything to chance.  From December 2016 through March, over 1,000 ‘wear testers’ have been putting the new uniforms through their paces – in the real world.

Now designers at Lands End are studying important feedback to make the last changes to the uniform.  If all goes well, Delta will be rolling out the new look to all of its employees worldwide in 2018.

But what do you do with thousands of test uniforms that can no longer be used?  The ‘test wearers’ had to return the uniform and you can’t just donate it all to charity – after all, the uniform is plastered with the Delta logo and brand name.  Thankfully, Delta has found a way to upcycle the uniform rather than simply destroy it.

They brought in MartexFiber, a company that specialises in recycling clothing to safely dispose of the test uniforms.  In a video, just released by Delta, the uniform can be seen being shredded before being used to act as insulation and stuffing material.


What do you think of Delta’s new uniform?  Let us know in the comments below…

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