April 1 2020  |  Airline & Terminal News

Cabin couture

By Mary Jane Pittilla

This is a special feature from PAX International's April World Travel Catering and Onboard Services Hamburg 2020 edition.

Turkish Airlines uniforms are inspired by the many details in Turkish culture, from the currents of the Bosphorus to artisanal glassware

Some of the world’s leading airlines have announced exciting changes to their cabin crew uniforms, as they seek to create a good first impression with passengers. Style, a sense of place and sustainability are all coming to the fore in the latest designs.

Japan Airlines (JAL) has revealed its new uniforms for cabin crew, ground staff, pilots and other uniformed representatives, slated to launch in April 2020. The collection was designed by Yasutoshi Ezumi, a renowned name in Japanese fashion.

The airline has shifted its attention to sustainability by using recycled materials in the making of the garments.

For the cabin crew, two concepts – Refined Hybrid Beauty and Hybrid Modern Beauty – were created by Ezumi. Different materials were combined in the design, and the airline's corporate logo and signature red color were also incorporated into the new styles.

The airline notes that the silhouette of the one-piece uniform represents the curve of a crane's neck, part of the JAL logo, which was paired with a balloon-shaped sleeve, a rarity in the airline industry.

Japan Airlines has shifted its attention to sustainability by using recycled materials in its new cabin crew uniforms

Heritage and identity

To celebrate its 85th anniversary, Turkish Airlines redesigned its cabin crew uniforms last year. This change brought the cabin, cockpit, ground handling personnel and flying chef uniforms together under a single design to provide passengers with a more unified brand experience.

Italian haute couturier Ettore Bilotta designed the cabin uniforms, which were specially sewn by Vakko, a Turkish fashion company. The uniforms, in flag-red and anthracite grey colors, were inspired by the many classical details in Turkish culture, from the currents of the Bosphorus to the artisanal glassware, ceramics and calligraphy patterns produced by local artisans.

Turning to Saudi Arabian Airlines (SAUDIA), its new cabin crew uniforms feature a refined new take on the attire designed for members of the hospitality team onboard.

The overall look and image come as part of the carrier’s cabin enhancement and hospitality additions. The uniforms feature a color palette that includes shades of purple, beige, gold and royal blue. Arabesque designs and accents feature throughout, from the pins to the women’s scarf, fabrics and signature blazer. Inspirations from the nation’s culture and landscape influence the new designs, encompassing the heritage, colors and identity of Saudi Arabia. The new uniform gives a revitalized look from the name badge to cufflinks, belts, suit, hat, pin, shoes and travel bag.

A consortium of designers and product specialists within the airline designed the new custom cabin crew apparel, which took roughly 18 months from design to launch. In the development, SAUDIA incorporated input from its team members, including perspectives on ease of wear and material comfort. The materials used include a selection of mixed poly-wool and elastane fabrics.

The national flag carrier of the Kingdom of Saudia Arabia began the preview of the new uniform on the airline’s Paris and London Heathrow routes, with the complete rollout expected by mid-2021.

Meanwhile, Norwegian is set to replace its uniforms this year and has unveiled a new initiative to upcycle its old uniforms into bags which will be sold for charity.

The low-cost carrier has launched a pilot project, Still Travelling with Norwegian, in partnership with Norway-based social enterprise Sisters in Business, which creates jobs for immigrant women through local textile production.

Old uniforms will be upcycled into a range of products, starting with a checkered toiletry bag and a silk clutch. They will then be sold on selected short-haul flights from Oslo, with profits supporting children’s charity UNICEF.

Carbon footprint reduction

SKYPRO uses sustainable raw materials such as ocean-recycled plastic for shoe soles and vegan leather

Airline companies looking for sustainable initiatives can turn to aviation uniform supplier SKYPRO, which is set to introduce its SKYPROEcologic line of sustainable uniform initiatives.

The uniforms are made for flight crew, cabin crew and ground staff. They use sustainable raw materials such as recycled bamboo-cotton biodegradable fibers, ocean-recycled plastic for shoe soles, recycled polyester linings and vegan alternatives to leather. Each item is customized for each client.

Jorge Pinto, SKYPRO Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, tells PAX International the SKYPROEcologic initiative looks to reduce the carbon footprint of uniforms at every step – from production to wear.

“Airlines are increasingly committed to reducing their carbon footprint, with some pledging to go carbon neutral by 2050,” he says. “As a uniform supplier dedicated to the aviation sector, it is our responsibility as well to help them achieve their sustainability goals where we can. Throughout the next decade SKYPRO envisions itself leading the ecological uniform movement.”

“Larger airlines order more than 20 tons of uniforms per year; therefore, we know we can make a positive impact in helping them reach their goals,” he continues. “Furthermore, crew are increasingly conscious of their own carbon footprint and therefore it is of utmost importance to our mission of helping improve the health and wellbeing of crew that we can help them satisfy their needs.”

SKYPRO only works with Oeko-Tex® certified textiles to ensure they are free from potentially harmful substances and improve the health and wellbeing of crew.

In addition, SKYPRO ensures all products being delivered in Europe and to the Middle East are produced in Europe, further reducing the shipment’s carbon footprint from manufacturer to client.

In a separate development for global airline customers, SKYPRO is launching at WTCE 2020 its new purchasing portal designed for uniform forecasting and management.

“Over the course of our 16-year history working with airlines that have tens of thousands of employees to outfit, we recognized a need in uniform fulfilment that requires a more streamlined, intelligent process,” Pinto explains. “That is why we launched the mySKYPRO Portal. Our platform offers something unique to the industry and is proprietary to SKYPRO – an artificial intelligence algorithm for uniform forecasting and management.”

The mySKYPRO Portal provides a customized uniform shopping experience for crew, giving them 100 percent control

The portal provides a customized shopping experience for crew, giving them 100% control; artificial intelligence that notifies managers of the optimal time to place orders; full integration with other airline Enterprise Planning Systems and with any uniform supplier; and instant reporting for account managers.

“We feel this will be an industry gamechanger to all involved in uniform management as well as the crew,” enthuses Pinto. “We have listened to the needs of the aviation industry and provided an intelligent solution that aims to streamline the process for uniform managers and flight crews while reducing uniform management complexity, time and cost. This technological innovation will take SKYPRO from being a uniform supplier to becoming a complete uniform management service provider, putting us at the forefront of the digital revolution in this industry.”

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