MIAMI— Southwest Airlines took the opportunity last week to show off its new uniform designs. This is the first update in 20 years and will cover flight attendants, airport representatives and ground handlers. Unlike some other airline uniform renewals the Southwest effort was led by employees, not an outside designer.
The project is a significant one for the company. Although there have been multiple updates to the company’s livery and branding over the intervening years the uniforms have remained largely unchanged for decades. Yet even with the significant scope of the project Southwest is holding the line on the budget. The effort will cost the carrier approximately $23mm.
Not surprisingly, the crew involved in designing and testing the uniforms are incredibly excited about the experience and opportunity. Of 500 applicants 43 were chosen to participate in the design process in the first quarter of 2015. The effort has progressed to wearability testing which began on 27 August 2015 with 120 crewmembers across 37 stations. The testing is a six-month process with revisions and refinements expected along the way. Tweaks have already been made from the original ideas, adjusting pockets on the female flight attendant dress, for example. More are likely to come. The new design will not be finalized and put into production until 2017.