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Discussing superyacht crew uniforms with Taylor Made Designs

There can be a lot to think about when it comes to superyacht crew uniforms and today’s industry requires only the highest of standards; Ed Taylor from Taylor Made Designs below discusses the styles and choices available when selecting uniforms for superyacht crew.

There’s no denying that brands, say, the likes of Musto, Henri Lloyd and the other usual suspects, produce some of the finest foul and wet weather protective clothing available today. After all, they have developed their clothing over the years with round-the-world yacht races and countless dinghy competitions in mind, but that’s not the mainstay activity of a superyacht.

There is, of course, a need for good quality foul weather clothing to form part of the uniform collection. It’s not all wall-to-wall sunshine all the time - although that would be nice – but how often do the preconceptions we have about which brands sway the choice of the rest of the uniform?

Agree or disagree, the proof is in plain sight every day. The vast majority of day uniforms on yachts will be a combination of shorts and short-sleeved shirts or polo shirts. The majority of these will either be 100% cotton or a high cotton/polyester mix, and yet, given the conditions these uniforms are worn in: high temperature, high humidity; it’s no wonder that crew on a busy charter yacht are no stranger to multiple uniform changes throughout the day.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Crews don’t have to wear garments high in cotton content to keep cool.  Sports like golf, and more obviously tennis, are using technical fabrics that have led to the development of smart clothing that performs well in extreme conditions. Not only does the clothing stay looking smart for prolonged periods of time, but the clothing minimises the impact of the heat and humidity on the person wearing it – in some cases it actually helps keep them cooler. 

These are called ‘moisture management systems’.  Some have rebranded them as ‘CoolPlus’, ‘DryBlend’, ‘Cooltex’ to name but a few, but essentially they are moisture wicking fabrics allowing the garment to breathe, dry quicker and work with an individual’s body temperature.

One thing that cannot be denied is the uniform has to look the part. A well dressed, smartly presented crew wearing a uniform that has a consistent look across all departments looks professional. It is what is expected. It’s not good enough if the deck, interior and engineering departments look good individually, but when put together, don’t have a consistent appearance and a sense of ‘uniform’. Perhaps it is for this reason that for too long, some departments are forced to wear uniform that is not the best performing clothing for the task in hand. A brand, or even a particular item of clothing is chosen for the generic crew member when deciding the uniform look and then blindly applied to all departments.

There is, of course, the kudos that comes from wearing a recognisable brand. For superyacht crew it has the double effect of increasing self-esteem for the crew wearing the uniform as well as reassuring the guests that they are surrounded by the very best of everything, with the familiarity and perception of quality that the recognisable brands provide.

With yachts getting larger and larger and the number of crew on board increasing, budget has a considerable part to play in the selection of a uniform. The initial outlay for a new or re-worked uniform can easily get out of control if at least some consideration is not given to the brands and ranges being selected.

With time at a premium it is easy to see how and why so many uniforms get chosen without going into the detail of the cut, colour, fabric, sizing or availability of stock  for every single piece of the uniform. Just sourcing the individual items in the first place takes time and then there is the concern about stock and future availability – not being able to replace items six months down the line as the brand or supplier has discontinued that particular line of clothing.

Yachts that regularly travel across the Atlantic can easily get caught in the trap of ordering stock in the US, only to find out that the same range from the same brand is not available in Europe. But, before any of this becomes a problem, you need to be sure that the yacht specific branding or personalisation can be applied to each garment, and that the application of the personalisation is consistent in style, colour and size across all items – it’s a nightmare!

Whatever the reasons have been in the past, it doesn’t have to be this way anymore. There are a multitude of clothing brands that produce vast ranges of clothing that is fit for purpose for each and every role and task on a modern superyacht. If you know where to look, you can find just the right garments, in just the right colour and style, and you can put together a uniform that not only looks fit for a superyacht, but also performs to the same exacting standards.

The factors that influence the final choice of uniform on board any superyacht are of course unique to that yacht. No two yachts are identical and so it fairly safe to assume that there is no single solution to the perfect uniform; at least not one that will suit all yachts. But the reasons for choosing particular brands and suppliers, and the importance of perception against actual garment performance, will continue to be debated topic.

It’s a topic that Taylor Made Designs have an obvious vested interest in, but nonetheless TMD invite you to join the debate and share your thoughts, either by contacting TMD directly or by joining in the conversation on the Bluewater and TMD social media pages.

For more information, visit Taylor Made Designs.

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