Shopping for clothes is sometimes a challenge, particularly if we’re looking for an outfit that can be worn regularly. We need to consider practicality but we also need to choose the appropriate style. Does it suit me? Will I be warm enough? Is it the right size?
Those concerns are magnified when you’re creating uniforms that’ll be worn by hundreds of people working for the same company. This is the challenge faced by Susanne Malim, founder and CEO of Jermyn Street Design, the London-based corporate clothing specialist responsible for the new uniform and a special 20th anniversary scarf and tie for Eurostar.
We asked Susanne to explain how Eurostar uniforms have changed in the past twenty years, how they’ve been influenced by fashion trends and how each update reflects the company’s growth.
“Eurostar is a very glamorous way to travel and also takes you straight into the hearts of two of the world’s biggest fashion capitals”, she explained, “so the uniform always needs to reflect that. Over the years, the various uniforms have celebrated Eurostar’s unique status and helped build a brand that’s become well-known for its style.”
These outfits were designed by the Balmain fashion house. It’s a look that reflects their signature style: very grown-up, very elegant and – with those shoulder pads and double-breasted jackets – very much in tune with the ‘power dressing’ trend of the time.
Eurostar was an exciting new concept… and that uniform screams confidence! Yellow jackets were a particularly bold statement for the men, while the women’s hats have a hint of Jackie O about them.
Overall, it’s a way of telling customers “we’re helpful, we’re professional and we’re focussed on service.” Plus, of course, that link with chic French design helped make this new form of travel especially seductive for UK travellers; it offered a hint of what awaited them across the Channel.
There’s a big change here. These clothes are deliberately less extravagant than the previous design, which reflects the changing tastes and fashions of the time. The palette of greys, for example, is a complete departure from the bright yellow and deep navy of before.
It’s a uniform that says “we’re functional”, although playful touches like the little hats say “we’re fun, too”. Eurostar’s confidence is still there but in a much more understated way.
Ultimately, it’s smart and unobtrusive – but, in retrospect, perhaps too low-key. It’s important that customers are able to spot Eurostar staff in a crowd.”
We decided to go much closer to the original colour palette with these uniforms, reflecting the livery of a Eurostar train. The jacket fabric combines a flat weave and a twill weave to echo the sinuous, organic lines of the soon-to-be-introduced e320 trains – it’s all about the next generation of Eurostar. There’s a similar motif with the curved pockets and the design on the women’s scarves.
In addition, we know how important it is for team members to feel comfortable when they’re at work. Thanks to new fabrics that are both stretchy and durable, we’ve been able to create a uniform that looks good yet is more comfortable to wear.
As before, this is all about confidence: we want customers to trust Eurostar but we also want staff to feel confident wearing the uniform. Ideally, we’d like Eurostar staff to feel their uniforms are at least as stylish and fashionable as their own clothes!