Diversity & Inclusion
WestJet launches gender-neutral uniforms with fashion show at Calgary airport
WestJet celebrated the launch of its new uniform collection for frontline team members on a special runway at the Calgary International Airport. The uniforms, conceptualized by international designer, Juli Grbac, are unique to Canada and were created with safety and inclusivity at the forefront, the company said.
“The launch of our new uniforms is not only representative of WestJet’s brand and inclusive culture, but of the incredible WestJetters who make up our unique identity,” said Diederik Pen, WestJet Chief Operating Officer. “Our new uniform collection has gone through design refinement and extensive wear-testing and I am so proud to stand alongside the many dedicated WestJetters who brought this uniform collection to life as we celebrate this milestone and look forward to a bright future ahead.”
“It has been a joy and an honour to be part of the WestJet family and bring this new look to life,” said Juli Grbac, Designer. “After significant designing, testing and feedback, these uniforms embrace the diverse needs of WestJet’s frontline staff and provide a look that will stand the test of time that can be worn with confidence.”
A fit for every body
While developing WestJet’s new uniform, frontline WestJetters across all departments of the airline were consulted throughout the development phases to refine the designs and create a product suited to those who would wear it.
In 2017, WestJet updated its uniform guidelines to be unchained from gender norms, it said. WestJet’s new uniforms, The Lakes and Rocky Mountain collections, further that approach as they are genderless, providing the opportunity for staff to select the uniform that is most authentic and comfortable to them. Redesigned name tags also feature a newly created space for pronouns, to promote greater inclusivity for everyone in WestJet’s world, while an infusion of the airline’s iconic teal colour highlights its 26-year history.
Along with the new uniforms, WestJet recently updated its tattoo policy to ensure frontline staff have the freedom to showcase visible tattoos and celebrate individuality, while wearing their uniform and representing the airline.
“Our WestJetters spend a lot of time in their uniform, so it was integral for us to create a product to the highest safety standard that reflects the diverse team members who show up every day to deliver care to our guests,” said Leah McDonald, WestJet, Director, Training and Uniforms. “This journey began four years ago and throughout the process, inclusivity has led our design and development. These uniforms were created for all bodies, allowing each of our frontline team members to proudly wear something that reflects their individual style, identity and authentic self.”
Safety in every stitch
Keeping safety above all, every component of WestJet’s new uniforms has been tested for harmful substances or possible skin irritants. WestJet will proudly be the first airline in Canada to carry the Standard 100 OEKO-TEX certification, ensuring all WestJetters will not only look good, but feel good in their uniform.
WestJet’s new uniforms were produced by Unisync.
“Everyone at Unisync is honored to have worked on this collection in collaboration with the WestJet team and designer Juli Grbac,” said Michael Smith, President of Unisync Group Limited. “We are so excited for all WestJetters to not only have a program that looks great, but also one that has been recognized for its high quality and industry leading safety certification. From the beginning, we knew that this program was going to be very special, and we’re proud that WestJet entrusted us with this partnership.”
Reaction from staff
What the new uniforms mean to WestJetters:
“The availability for gender neutrality is so important in supporting the larger and diverse group of people we have working at WestJet,” said Lindsay Poll, WestJet, Cabin Crew Member.
“As a queer identifying person, having options on what I can wear at work, means a lot. When you look good, you feel better and when you feel better, you perform at your best,” said Jodi Tamuyao, WestJet Encore, Cabin Crew Member.
“It’s about wearing something made for my body that I look and feel great in. I love the collection because it does just that,” said Meg Bateman, WestJet, Manager, The Runway Uniform Fit Center.
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