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Is This The World’s First ‘Gender Non-Specific’ Flight Attendant Uniform?

Is This The World’s First ‘Gender Non-Specific’ Flight Attendant Uniform?

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A brand new low-cost Icelandic airline has launched what is believed to be the world’s first ‘gender non-specific’ flight attendant uniform with crew members allowed to mix and match items from the entire collection – including garments that would traditionally be reserved for employees who identify as either male or female.

“We really wanted to throw out all those old ideas about airline uniforms and bring in more comfort,” explained designer couple Gunni Hilmars and Kolla who were tasked by airline startup PLAY to envisage a fresh perspective on flight attendant uniforms.

“We tried to scrap the constrictive rules often associated with these uniforms and include relaxed fits, stretchy fabrics and of course, shoes meant for working on your feet! The result is a mix of activewear and a fresh uniform,” Gunni continued.

As well as including a range of gender non-specific garments like relaxed fit t-shirts, ankle-length puffer jackets and Nike branded sneakers, the uniform also includes a dress option and different cut suits.

But Jónína Guðmundsdóttir, the airline’s chief people officer makes it clear that crew won’t be constrained by the binary choice of a male or female uniform. They choose exactly what they want.

And while PLAY is throwing out the rule book on gendered airline uniform, the airline is also dispensing with the strict grooming rules employed by nearly every other airline in the world. Gone are rules on how cabin crew should wear their hair, what colour they can paint their nails or how much (or how little) makeup they can wear.

In fact, PLAY has even dispensed with rules on tattoos – something that remains very much taboo at many airlines despite the rise in popularity and acceptance of tattoos in many countries in. recent years.

Last week, Alaska Airlines found itself in hot water after refusing to let a flight attendant who identifies as non-binary from choosing uniform items from both the ‘male’ and ‘female’ uniform collections.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is representing Justin Wetherell, an Alaska Airlines flight attendant and instructor who identifies as non-binary and feels trapped by Alaska’s current uniform policies.

Alaska Airlines said in response to the complaint that it is introducing more inclusive uniform options but the issues raised by Justin are commonplace across the airline industry.

PLAY was founded in 2019 following the collapse of another Icelandic low-cost airline. The carrier was meant to launch in 2020 but had to delay due to the pandemic. The first flights are due to depart Keflavik later this month with routes planned for London, Berlin and Copenhagen, as well as Paris, Barcelona, Alicante, and Tenerife.

All photos courtesy PLAY

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