Delta has announced that Zac Posen, he of the hot femme red carpet gowns and well-tailored runway separates, will be designing their new employee uniforms. Does this mean that gate agents sporting the new duds will look at least ten percent less miserable? Maybe!
Racked reports that the uniforms won’t hit the airports until 2018, but Posen has a lot of work to do: He’ll advise on uniforms not just for employees at the front of the house, such as airport agents and flight attendants, but also behind-the-scenes employees working in ground support, tech, and cargo. (Yes, that means a cargo worker could have a cuter cardigan than you do.)
Delta and Posen would be wise to learn from Virgin Atlantic’s attempt at a fashion makeover for its crew: Vivienne Westwood’s designs, described by owner Richard Branson as “extremely glamorous,” were a disaster. Attendants complained about blisters from Westwood’s shiny red heels and bemoaned the tight collars, which supposedly left some victims bleeding, but that sounds a little extreme—let’s just say they were pretty uncomfortable. And pencil skirts photograph well, sure, but they’re not good for mobility so much as they are for riding up when you try to walk with a normal stride, wrinkling anytime you sit down, and generally destroying any fantasies you had about yourself as a sleek-n-sexy businesswoman. (Or is that just me?)
Posen, whose name is shorthand for style and glamour, may have better luck. His runway collections feature some looks that, with some fabric changes and tailoring tweaks, could work behind counters and in cabins. That said, “style” and “glamour” haven’t been associated with any aspect of commercial aviation since Southwest extended their uniform hemlines to hit below the vagina, and not even a swingy skirt and cute blazer by Zac Posen is going to change that.
As much as Delta’s uniforms could use an upgrade, enlisting Posen is probably about exciting staff and boosting enthusiasm as much as it is about polishing appearances. Wearing something snappy makes you feel a little bit better about your day. And we can rightfully grumble all we want about the indignities of flying, but airline employees work hard (or most do); look at any gate agent or flight attendant during a weather delay and tell me they’re not miserable. You can see the life drain from their eyes. Their job often sucks. So if a “Posen-designed” uniform, even if it’s Kmart quality, makes them feel better about doing their work, it’s a trickle-down win for passengers. And we need every tiny win we can get.
Image via Getty.