The Fashion Statement: Flight Attendant Wanted New Uniforms, Too
JetBlue's Steven Slater, the flight attendant who grabbed a couple brews, deployed the airplane slide and said, "take this job and shove it," has become a modern-day folk hero. He certainly set the bar high for how to quit a job with flair.
But did you know Slater was also on the JetBlue's uniform redesign committee? Not only that but he was Chairman, according to businessinsider.com. No doubt he had had it up to here with the JetBlue look, too.
How quickly glory fades. Ten years ago, JetBlue uniforms were the height of chic. Stan Herman designed the window-pane checked midnight blue shirts, midnight blue trousers and skirts. Male flight attendants, like Slater, probably wore a tie with a pattern made to look like a plane's tail fins. Female counterparts could either wear blue check or polka dot scarves.
In 2001, JetBlue's uniforms were recognized for being utilitarian and "Prada-esque" and won design awards and accolades, even one from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. The fashion school hosted an exhibition "Work in Uniform: Dressed for Detail" that featured JetBlue's uniforms.
But that was then. No telling what Slater and the committee have been planning. Or who they were collaborating with.
There should be no shortage of interest on the part of fashion designers. Fashion designers have always had a fascination with airline uniforms. Maybe it's nostalgia for the era of stewards and stewardesses, maybe it was the jetset lifestyle and exotic locales. It certainly lured Herman. "I designed TWA's look back in 1974, the height of the jetset era," said Herman in an old JetBlue press release. Herman, not exactly a household name, went on to become president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CF DA), a prestigious post in the fashion world.
In the aughts, it was all about touting your brand name globally. A few years ago, it was a bona fide trend among famous fashion designers to design airline uniforms. Korean Air had their uniforms designed by the now late Italian designer Gianfranco Ferré. Christian Lacroix turned out simple navy and red uniforms for Air France. And L.A. designer Richard Tyler whipped some up looks for Delta.
And why not? Flight attendants cover a whole lot more ground than any whisper-thin model ever could.
Just this March, Dutch designer Mart Visser presented his news designs at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport for 11,000 flight attendants, ground staff and female pilots who work for Royal Dutch Airlines KLM (pictured above). Visser has had his own collection since 1993 and runs the Mart Visser Haute Couture store in Amsterdam.
Take our advice, Steven Slater. Forget a reality show. Put some of that flair into airline uniforms.