Designing uniforms for restaurant employees and airline crews is old hat. Bruce Oldfield did it for McDonald’s staff last year; 40 years ago Emilio Pucci created a uniform for Braniff International Airways, as Julien Macdonald did, more recently, for British Airways.

Hotels, too have followed suit, and London’s Hempel Hotel, the original purveyor of minimal chic, dresses its staff in Emporio Armani whereas Mayfair’s Connaught hotel has adapted bespoke details to staff uniforms made from specialty fabrics featuring hand engraved buttons.

According to a 2008 PwC report, some 30 new hotel brands launched over the preceding 30 months. So brand image has become ever more important to differentiation. The choice of a hotel is as much a statement of taste as the choice of car, clothing or any other consumer goods.

“Uniforms are becoming much more important to the hotel industry now, as more hotels become ‘fashion’ brands themselves,” says Nicholas Oakwell, managing director of No Uniform, a uniform design company that counts Ibis Hotels, the Connaught in London, and Abode, the British boutique hotel chain, among its clients. “It’s about building customer appeal: the uniform tells a customer what the hotel is all about, especially since guests tend to be more fashion- and design-conscious now.”

Source: Financial Times

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