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Gender has become an important theme for companies in recent years. Not everyone identifies as a man or a woman so it makes little sense to force your staff to choose between a male or female uniform. Also important to note that doing so can be seen as discrimination. The Icelandic airline PLAY has taken note. The staff no longer have to choose between male or female workwear, there is no longer a distinction. But this isn’t the only thing they’ve thrown out…
PLAY plays with uniform
The airline, founded in 2019, stated in a news report that it is time to move away from the norm. They believe that the clothes and shoes that are worn on the plane should above all be comfortable. The rules surrounding hair, cosmetics, and tattoos have also been thrown overboard. This is clear in the photos of their new corporate clothing.
The collection is remarkably casual. Especially the T-shirts, sweaters, sneakers, and quilted jackets. A complete change from what we normally see on aircrew.
When you take a closer look at the collection, you can see that they have paid attention to the details, in particular the placement of the company name. PLAY is featured on the T-shirts, lining, belt, and laces. When I zoom in on the pantyhose, I see that they have even incorporated the name there. You cannot miss it.
Unfortunately, the news item did not contain any photos of the pilots, but we can see their new uniforms on Facebook. They wear a gray suit with distinguishable red bands on the sleeves and hats and they wear sneakers just like the rest.
PLAY is the first airline with a gender-neutral uniform
Let me state first that I understand and encourage the logic. It is important that people can be themselves, can work comfortably, and are not hindered by their clothes or shoes.
But there is one big misunderstanding, just because clothes are smart does not mean they cannot also be all the above. Anyone who has studied the corporate clothing industry will agree that nowadays it is perfectly possible to look presentable without compromising on comfort. Fits, techniques, and fabrics have changed over the years. Trousers can be just as comfortable as sweatpants and a blouse or shirt doesn’t have to feel like a corset. I don’t think PLAY has figured this out yet.
This collection strikes me as a project that was developed under time pressure. The garments are very simple and lack any creativity. The T-shirts and sweaters have a standard neckline and the only addition is a printed logo. With the suits, it looks like they have chosen a simple, cheap model and have added their own lining. It is not obvious from the outside that it is being worn by PLAY personnel. While that is precisely the power of a uniform: the distinctive aspect. And rules about hairstyles exist for a reason. Long hair that hangs over your food and drink is not very hygienic. You get my drift, I could go on and on…
What do you think of the collection?