In honor of its 70th anniversary on Tuesday, SAS Airlines will suit up its pilots, cabin crews and ground staff in newly updated uniforms from Swedish designer Ted Bernhardtz.
Executives at the Stockholm-based company have spent the past year reviewing the logo, font and color scheme to ensure a cohesiveness to what it describes as its “Blue on Blue” identity.
“Over the past year we have had a strong focus on SAS visual expression, and we have worked with everything from logo, text and color to the material. Designers tried to keep in mind three key words — ‘recognizable,’ ‘Scandinavian’ and ‘uncluttered,'” Brand manager Pi Åhnberg said, “The work has been important for us so that there is a visual context and similarity in all of our parts. The uniforms are an important and essential part in meeting our customers, and are a perfect illustration of the SAS visual refresh.”
The redesign has been an 18-month process that resulted in nearly 91,000 pieces for SAS’ 8,000 uniformed employees. More than 17 years have passed since the airline last retooled its uniform. That incarnation was created by three Scandinavian designers: Christopher Bjercke of Norway, Susanne Levring Rützov of Denmark and Pernilla Forsman from Sweden.
But the airline has a rich fashion heritage since Christian Dior and Carven are among the designer brands that once designed the uniforms. In 1971, the introduction of Dior’s turquoise designs coordinated with the interiors of its new Boeing 747s that transported passengers on the Copenhagen-New York and Copenhagen-Tokyo routes.
The updated uniforms, which include a polo shirt and poncho among other styles, are meant to make SAS staffers more identifiable for travelers navigating busy international airports. The airline has 805 daily departures and services 119 markets. In 2014, SAS ferried 28.1 million passengers.
Working from his design firm in Gothenburg, Bernhardtz relied on SAS uniformed employees and staffers in the company’s trademark department for close assistance. He has extensive experience in design, textiles and manufacturing both his own collections and uniforms for big companies. Considerable wear testing was done before the final designs, fit and fabrics secured approval. Bernhardtz did not respond to requests for comment.
SAS has also partnered with Amandah Andersson, the Swedish designer behind the AMA AWE brand, to design an exclusive scarf. The blue-on-blue base has a graphic design of sand, which is meant to be Andersson’s view of how the Scandinavian countries look from the air. The accessory is also imprinted with SAS.
“There were many details to consider when I got the offer to create a design that suited the SAS brand and look, while fitting with my own artistic expression. My first thought was to use the image of Scandinavia seen from above as inspiration, just as you see it when you look out the airplane window,” Andersson said.