- Norwegian will replace its flight attendants uniform in 2020
- Upcycling old long-haul uniform into washbags and purses
- The project will help UNICEF and an immigrant women’s charity
- The new products will be available to buy on Norwegian’s flights.
Earlier this year, we revealed that low-cost carrier Norwegian was planning a complete redesign of its cabin crew uniform. Up until now, the Oslo-based carrier has had two variations of crew uniform – one for short-haul flight attendants and a completely different design for flight attendants who work long-haul flights, specifically on Norwegian’s fleet of Boeing 787 Dreamliners.
The long-haul uniform was first unveiled in 2013 to coincide with the delivery of Norwegian’s first Dreamliner. Designed by local fashion house Moods of Norway, the uniform was a bold statement that was deliberately designed to differentiate Norwegian’s long-haul crew.
But Norwegian has had a major rethink about having two very different uniform designs. For one, it causes a significant amount of brand confusion, especially after Norwegian launched long-haul flights on its Boeing 737 fleet but on which flight attendants wear the traditional short-haul uniform.
Then there’s the fact that the Moods of Norway uniform was expensive – a big consideration when Norwegian is trying to cut as many unnecessary costs as possible as it fights to turn round its ailing fortune.
So next year, cabin crew will slowly be issued with a new uniform that is unified across both short-haul and long-haul. Importantly, the uniform is far cheaper to manufacture and will allow crew to transfer between bases and fleets without a complete uniform reissue.
But what to do with all that leftover uniform? Like several other airlines that have gone through similar projects, Norwegian has decided to upcycle its old uniform and breathe new life into old threads.
Working with UNICEF and social enterprise Sisters in Business, the airline is experimenting with selling the repurposed uniform on its flights. At present, there are two products available – a checkered toilet bag which is made out of the male long-haul uniform jacket and a silk purse which has been fashioned out of the neck scarf worn by female long-haul flight attendants.
“Now that we are replacing some of our uniforms, it is important that we look at how we can use these materials in a sustainable way. We have partnered with the social enterprise Sisters in Business, which creates jobs for immigrant women through local textile production,” explains Cecilie Nybø Carlsen, Norwegians VP Product Manager.
At the moment, the project is just a pilot and its success will largely depend on whether passengers really want to buy the airline’s old uniform. Anders Fagernæs, the airline’s sustainability manager said the project could “save thousands of garments from being thrown in the garbage” – the question is, what happens if the project isn’t a success?