By  on August 25, 2005

RIO DE JANEIRO — Top Brazilian designer Alexandre Herchcovitch, branching out in many directions, has inked a deal with McDonald's to redesign the uniforms of its employees in Brazil — the first such contract the multinational corporation has ever signed.

In addition, Herchcovitch will design a collection of T-shirts to be sold in Brazil and abroad using McDonald's characters. Part of the profits from the sale of the shirts will go to McDonald's institute for children with cancer in Brazil, he said.

McDonald's in Brazil handpicked Herchcovitch for the task, rather than ask for Brazilian designers to submit competitive bids. "We wanted Herchcovitch from the start because his clothes have the young, modern look that appeals to us and our employees," said Flávia Vigio, corporate communications officer for McDonald's in Brazil. "Herchcovitch is the first designer McDonald's in any country has hired to design its employee uniforms."  

None of the McDonald's headquarters in the other 119 countries, except for the United States, is planning such a uniform redesign, said Vigio. In June, a month after Herchcovitch signed his contract, McDonald's USA "coincidentally," said Vigio, had a similar idea and asked designers there to submit bids to redesign its uniforms. The designers who were approached ranged from Tommy Hilfiger to Sean Combs.

Vigio added that hiring Herchcovitch is in line with the chain's international "I'm lovin it" campaign aimed at making the McDonald's experience a positive one for customers and employees.

"We want the Herchcovitch-designed uniforms to create a youthful, modern identity so that our employees, whose average age is between 18 and 21, will like wearing them," he said. "We also want the uniforms to be more comfortable and practical than our current ones."

Until now, the uniforms for most of the 34,000 employees in McDonald's 1,100 outlets in Brazil, mainly servers-cashiers, have been three different-sized, unisex, button-down shirts in either blue check or burgundy, along with black trousers and caps. Different items are currently provided by three suppliers.

Herchcovitch's job is to design uniforms for all 15 McDonald's workstation positions, from manager (a three-tiered position) and cashier-server, to grill and maintenance workers. The overhaul will require designing 60 items, ranging from managers' ties and tailored jackets to maintenance-workers' overalls to belts, caps and costumes for employees to wear during McParties — in-house parties for kids.

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