Video: Kiwi designer Emilia Wickstead to create next Air New Zealand uniform

by James Wilkinson

Air New Zealand has officially revealed globally renowned Kiwi fashion designer Emilia Wickstead as the partner selected to create its new uniform.

The New Zealand designer has made a name for herself on the world stage, designing clothing for influential global figures and A-listers.

Now, she will be creating New Zealand’s most iconic and recognisable uniform and the carrier’s Chief Customer and Sales Officer, Leanne Geraghty, said Emilia stood out after the selection panel were blown away by her concepts.

“We received expressions of interest from more than 40 New Zealand designers and heard pitches from the country’s leading design talent, showcasing the depth and breadth of New Zealand fashion, making it an incredibly tough decision. Ultimately, Emilia stood out as the perfect partner,” she said.

“Emilia presented outstanding initial designs that were creative, unique, and will set Air New Zealand apart on the global stage. She also demonstrated her understanding of the importance in creating a uniform that is both functional and comfortable for our people.

“Her ability to create modern yet timeless pieces perfectly fits with what we were looking for in a design partner – someone who could create a uniform that our people can wear with pride now and into the future.

“Emilia has built an incredibly successful brand, designing for some of the most high profile customers in the world and we think our people deserve to be dressed by the very best too. We’re thrilled to have Emilia onboard and couldn’t be prouder to welcome her to the Air New Zealand whānau.”

Wickstead said it’s a privilege to be selected as the next Air New Zealand uniform designer.

“I could not be prouder, or more excited, to have been selected as Air New Zealand’s next uniform designer,” she said.

“This is a true passion project for me; one that further connects me with my homeland Aotearoa, and the community and places that I love.

“My approach to the uniform centres around a deep respect for New Zealand’s cultural heritage.

“First and foremost, it is inspired by people. I’m a big believer that clothing can be transformative, uplifting and empowering, and my hope is that the new uniforms will instil a sense of pride and purpose in Air New Zealand’s incredible, world-class team.

“Emilia Wickstead designs have a timeless quality, with simple yet effective details that lend fresh modernity and ease.

“It’s important to me that these uniforms are an extension of this, tempered with creative twists and innovation to create a distinctive uniform that will stand out for years to come.”

The designer selection was made following a competitive pitch process involving a number of leading New Zealand designers who were asked to consider key selection criteria including sustainability, functionality, safety, and te ao Māori.

The next phase of the project will see Air New Zealand collaborate closely with Emilia Wickstead for design refinements, onboard trials, and uniform wearer consultation before the final designs are revealed in late 2024.

Wickstead’s Air New Zealand uniforms will be rolled out progressively to more than 5,000 Air New Zealand cabin crew, front of house ground staff, and pilots over the next few years.