SKYPRO's functional focus
This is a special feature from PAX International's 2022 WTCE Hamburg edition, on page 64.
The pandemic brought new norms for fashion, including the rise of leisure wear and a more relaxed work-from-home wardrobe. But it also changed fashion in the cabin.
Just before COVID-19, several airlines announced refreshes for their cabin couture. The focus was all about style, a sense of place and sustainability.
Cabin crew, ground staff, pilots and other uniformed representatives with Japan Airlines donned in April 2020. The collection was designed by Yasutoshi Ezumi, a renowned name in Japanese fashion. The line focused on sustainability by using recycled materials.
Saudi Arabian Airlines (SAUDIA) unveiled new cabin crew uniforms in 2020 with a refined take on the attire designed for members of the hospitality team onboard. The overall look came as part of the carrier’s cabin enhancement and hospitality additions. The uniforms have a color palette in shades of purple, beige, gold and royal blue, and draw inspiration from the nation’s culture and landscape.
The year prior, Turkish Airlines redesigned its cabin crew uniforms to celebrate its 85th anniversary. The update 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. The uniforms, in flag-red and anthracite grey colors, were inspired by the many classic details in Turkish culture.
But that was a different time.
Now, Jorge Pinto CEO at SKYPRO says, the emphasis is on uniforms that enable crew to fulfil their duties in a comfortable and safe manner. Mass layoffs sometimes mean more hours on the job – and sometimes more stressful encounters with passengers.
Crew clothes must allow agile and flexible movements and bring comfort to reduce fatigue. They must be designed to enable crew to act in a variety of situations, as well as be produced with specific fabrics for aviation professionals.
“More than ever, we are focusing on creating uniforms that can improve their work performance,” says Pinto. “The uniform cannot be a source of additional stress to these professionals and leave them feeling irritated, which in the end, can reflect the way they deal with passengers.”
SKYPRO has partnered with yarns, fibers and fabrics producers to develop uniforms that offer breathability, moisture absorption and other finishes to make uniforms adaptable to different working conditions. There are consistent mixtures for the main fabrics: wool for comfort and breathability, polyester for resistance and duration and elastane for comfort.
For shoes, SKYPRO offers a first: footwear certified for aviation professionals with EN ISO 20347:2012, a standard that specifies basic and optional requirements for general-purpose professional footwear. It includes mechanical hazards, slip resistance, thermal hazards and ergonomic behavior.
Sustainability is still huge for the uniforms sector, Pinto says. SKYPRO has started a circular business model initiative: for every one uniform sold, the company collects one uniform to recycle.
“If companies don't change their mindset regarding waste, their businesses will die,” Pinto says, explaining that the textile sector is the second most polluting industry in the world. The rates are “alarming” he says, adding that if nothing is done to improve this, the industry will consume 25 percent of the world's carbon budget by 2050.
Released in March 2020, SKYPRO’s Uniform Management System mySKYPRO Portal automates and unifies all stages of uniform management, including manufacturing, fitting, ordering, logistics and customer service. It uses smart algorithms to forecast uniform demands to help airlines focus on their core business and other employee needs.
"There is no single industry immune to digital transformation," Pinto says. “Our project slots for 2022 are full and we are already closing deals to implement the mySKYPRO Portal in 2023. We are living proof that companies want to feel the benefits of digital transformation.”
SKYPRO has bold growth plans. In the next two years, it aims to have Country Managers in 10 countries, adding to its roster of offices in Portugal, Dubai and the United States.
“It is impossible to expand without being close to our customers around the world. They are real people with specific needs and requirements for uniforms, with different cultures and different economic and social contexts. It's not easy, but we know we have to do it if we're to remain a human company that provides smarter uniforms for people everywhere,” Pinto says.