READY FOR TAKEOFF: Zac Posen touched down in Atlanta for Tuesday’s debut of Delta’s new uniforms for its frontline employees.
More than 60,000 Delta staffers — customer service agents, flight attendants, ramp agents and technicians — will be suited up in attire by the New York designer. The designer also consulted on uniforms for the below-wing employees as in ramp workers and other technicians. Given the tall order, Posen brainstormed with various Delta employees from practically every group within the company while developing the collection. He took into consideration the respective environments and physical requirements of their respective jobs when fine-tuning the fit. Delta employees were encouraged to offer their two cents about the design and the final selection of each uniform item.
Posen collaborated with Lands’ End, offering design inspiration and color consultation to the Dodgeville, Wisc.-based retailer which will manufacture and supply the uniforms. While frequent fliers might be accustomed to Delta’s signature navy and red, Posen reimagined the company’s color wheel with colors dubbed Passport Plum, Cruising Cardinal and Groundspeed Graphite, with accents of Skyline Slate and Traveling Thistle. Female flight attendants and customer service reps will don such options as a Passport Plum V-neck dress, peplum sweater, wrap dress, ottoman skirt suit and swing jacket. For men, a Groundspeed Graphite three-piece suit, Passport Plum crew neck sweater and widget-printed tie are now among the wardrobe pieces. For technical-oriented employees like airport ramp workers or in Delta’s TechOps division, a mid-layer sweater, three-in-one ANSI jacket and rapid-dry polo shirt are among their style choices.
“We wanted Delta employees to look glamorous on the job without sacrificing functionality and style,” Posen said.
Starting in December and into early 2017, 1,000 Delta employees will test-wear the uniforms and offer their input for any further adjustments and tweaks. The company plans to roll out the new uniforms worldwide in the first quarter of 2018. Delta has not updated its uniforms for what it describes as “above wing” employees, including flight attendants and airport customer service agents, since Richard Tyler did the honors in 2006. And the airline hasn’t refreshed its uniform collection for “below wing” employee employees — as in technical operations employees and ramp agents — since 2000. In its 82-year history, Delta used uniforms from such resources as Neiman Marcus, Rich’s Department Stores and Army & Navy Stores.
Nearly two years ago Delta set up a Cross-Divisional Uniform Committee to ensure employees’ feedback about concept, design and supplier critiques would be relayed to the design team and suppliers. Ed Bastian, Delta’s chief executive officer, said, “Zac and the Delta team worked closely with our people to create timeless and fashionable pieces that reflect the thoughtful and innovative spirit of Delta.”
Posen deals with his share of travel, designing his own signature collection, a secondary line ZAC Zac Posen, Truly Zac Posen for David’s Bridal, jewelry for Helberg and Blue Nile, and as creative director for Brooks Brothers women’s collection. He is also working on a documentary about his career and will release his first cookbook “Cooking With Zac” next fall. Posen does not have any plans to work with Lands’ End on any other projects at the moment, according to a company spokeswoman. And unfortunately, for the designer, his alliance with Delta does not include unlimited travel with the airline.