Air New Zealand has finally chosen a new designer for its cabin crew uniform more than five years after the Kiwi airline first announced plans to update the look and nearly 12 years since the carrier’s current iconic uniform was first worn by crew members and other front-line employees.
In the end, ‘globally renowned’ Kiwi fashion designer Emilia Wickstead beat the competition to be selected by Air New Zealand’s selection panel as the airline’s new uniform designer.
The panel had poured over submissions from 40 different New Zealand designers, but Emilia’s initial designs immediately stood out as being able to set Air New Zealand apart on the global stage, explained the airline’s chief customer and sales officer, Leanne Geraghty.
“Her ability to create modern yet timeless pieces perfectly fits with what we were looking for in a design partner – someone who could create a uniform that our people can wear with pride now and into the future,” commented Geraghty.
“She also demonstrated her understanding of the importance in creating a uniform that is both functional and comfortable for our people.”
Having chosen their designer, Air New Zealand will now work with Wickstead to refine her initial designs, consult with employees and carry out onboard trials. All going well, the final designs will be unveiled to the world late next year – around three years later than originally planned.
“My approach to the uniform centres around a deep respect for New Zealand’s cultural heritage,” commented Wickstead on Monday. “First and foremost, it is inspired by people. I’m a big believer that clothing can be transformative, uplifting and empowering, and my hope is that the new uniforms will instil a sense of pride and purpose in Air New Zealand’s incredible, world-class team.”
“This is a true passion project for me; one that further connects me with my homeland Aotearoa, and the community and places that I love,” Wickstead continued.
Air New Zealand’s current uniform was designed by the renowned local designer Dame Trelise Cooper. The massive collection of mix-and-match items launched with a total of 90,000 garments shared amongst the airline’s staff.
Going into this latest uniform project, Air New Zealand says it has explored whether a gender-neutral uniform might be appropriate in the future, although the airline didn’t provide an update on this decision on Monday.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.