The integration of Alaska Airlines and Virgin America is underway. Alaska’s recent acquisition of Virgin America created the fifth largest domestic airline.
Now the Alaska Airlines brand is getting refreshed with a new coat of paint for the livery and, of course, brand new uniforms for the flight crew. A full line of apparel with over 90 pieces was revealed on the fashion runway (pun intended) last week. Seattle fashion designer Luly Yang custom designed the collection.
Actual airline employees modeled the gear, from pilots to maintenance technicians. Yang surveyed thousands of employees and conducted focus groups to come up with a collection that is fresh and brand-new for the newly formed Alaska Airlines, with functionality and signature style being kept top-of-mind. The new uniforms will be wear-tested over the next two months before final improvements are made.
One of the most sought after improvements by employees was more pockets, according to Sangita Woerner, Alaska Airlines’ VP of Marketing. Woerner told pop culture site PopSugar, “What Luly did was she got down to that level of detail and was really smart about where she placed those pockets to make sure they were super usable.” Pockets have been incorporated into almost every piece, even dresses. The pockets can fit larger devices, work tools, baggage tags, pens, and other miscellaneous items.
The new clothing line is also designed with comfort in mind and features pants for pilots that have enough stretch that they allow one to remain comfortably seated for long periods of time …. any pilot will tell you the key word here is “comfortable” pants that remain neat and crisp.
Yang said keeping track of the feedback and customizing the pieces for each type of employee was one of the hardest parts of creating the collection. Alaska Airlines has 13 different work categories with disparate job functions so making the whole collection work in a cohesive way was a challenge.
Some of the items not only score points for being safe and functional, they are also quite fashionable – like the brown leather pilot jackets and navy waterproof trench coats. C’est chic, no?
The 19,000 employees across Alaska Airlines, Virgin America and Horizon Air will be fully switched over to the new gear by the end of 2019. Meantime, Alaska Airlines has plans to continue to grow outside of its dominant market in the Pacific Northwest into several markets in California and beyond.