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Delta Begins Testing on New Uniforms

Tacky or Trendy? Prospective Uniforms Not so Popular Off the Bat

Delta Air Lines has shown off a new collection of employee uniforms, and the results have been met with mixed approval.

Overall, the new collection does away with the 'Passport Plum' gear instituted in 2018, replacing it with a darker red and blue scheme that seems more "Delta" in comparison. That change was made to move away from the common airline colors of blue and red, a decision which Delta is now turning around on. Back then, they put a price tag on the change of about 20 million dollars overall, so getting the better part of a decade out of their new toy isn't too great. But, it's always fun to mix things up for an airline, and as a large part of their branding, uniform changes are always a way to set themselves apart from the pack. 

Of course, airlines can never quite help themselves when they start playing with uniform changes, and Delta's partner, GPS Apparel by Gap Inc, managed to finagle more than a few tacky changes of their own. For the pilots, their coats will now include a flash of crisscrossing red piping across the shoulders, a feature sure to inflame those who prefer their clothing be symmetrical. But, in typical corporate fashion, there's very deep symbolism behind that choice, as Delta explains: 

"In a further homage to Delta's brand identity and history, designers incorporated the iconic widget logo across the collection, in ways both obvious and subtle. First introduced in 1959, the widget -- as seen on the tails of Delta aircraft -- represents the spirit and culture of Delta: the flat base symbolizes the airline's solid foundation, while the top portion points skyward -- a reminder to always keep climbing."

For the skirts, Delta displayed a new (tacky) belt appointment in the form of a gold triangle buckle, an unbranded triangle-in-square design that looks less at home on a Delta employee and more comfy on the vestments of some occult priest. Some contrasting white stitching here and there rounds out the collection, with the overall pilot uniform looking somewhat normal with a single-breasted jacket. From the front, it's an acceptable package for the Delta pilots, though more imagery is needed to make sure they look more "airline captain" than "limo driver for Prom". If nothing else, the return to more easily matched colors will be a boon to many in the corporate family, as long as they can ignore that darn asymmetry anywhere it appears.

"Delta has tens of thousands of uniformed employees, all with different needs and preferences," said Ranjan Goswami, SVP of Customer Experience Design. "That means any evolution of the uniform program will take time and deliberation to get right. We are committed to using this time to listen, learn and iterate as we work toward a new look -- one that reflects and celebrates who we are as Delta."

The carrier will begin testing out the new designs later this year, giving employees some trial runs to see what changes should be made for durability, comfort, fit, and function.



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