Tracy Reese is skipping New York Fashion Week in February to focus on making her business sustainable and in the process, she's diversifying her design portfolio. She will design uniforms for the female flight attendants and customers service representatives for United Airlines. Employees will take to the sky in their new looks come 2020.
The airline reached out to Reese specifically because she designs for women and loves color, WWD is reporting. "They came to me really because their population is very diverse and the women really felt like they were wearing uniforms tailored for men," the designer tells WWD. "They didn't feel feminine. The uniforms lacked color and there were no pattern." And so Reese set off on a seven-day, seven-city cross-country trip to all of the United Airlines hubs, spending hours talking to thousands of employees to gauge their needs. Reese tells WWD she even got to see "those secret underground passageways in the airport that other people don't get to go to," calling it a "window-less cavern where a whole other world is operating." Free flights are not a part of her contract but the company will send her around the country as part of her design process in what she refers to as a "lovely class of style."
Reese isn't the first designer an airline tapped to spice up its uniforms. Ozwald Boateng redesigned British Airways' employee looks, Zac Posen did the same for Delta, and Ettore Bilotta has partnered with Turkish Airlines. The men who work for United Airlines will wear reimagined Brooks Brothers' suits and Carhartt will dress those who work in the ramp service, technical and catering operations divisions of United Airlines.