Size matters (and we’re talking uniforms)…

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One size fits all, right?

Well, there might be circumstances where this is true, but we are going to stick our necks out here and say:

Not in the world of uniforms, it doesn’t. And what’s more, one shape doesn’t fit all.

It’s something that is of particular relevance to us at the moment, as we are moving more and more into international markets. When we launched our spa uniforms on to the US market a few years ago, we knew that we’d have to look at our sizing: the ethnic diversity in the United States means that there is a wider range of sizes – and that includes people needing spa trousers and tunics.

Since then our client base has expanded globally across the Middle East, Asia and Africa as well as Europe. This brings with it some interesting challenges, and it’s all to do with the fact that we don’t all look the same.

Consider height. Holland has a very tall population, with the average height for men being a lofty 6ft; for women it’s 5ft 7. All very academic, but what it means is that a uniform designed for a male receptionist in the Netherlands  might look pretty rubbish on his Filipino equivalent, because the chances are he will be a full eight inches shorter!

Neither are we all the same shape. Some of us are triangular-shaped whereas others have hourglass figures, and a lot of that is to do with ethnic origins, diet and lifestyle. Age also come into it: front of house staff tend to be smaller than managers, for example, because they tend to be younger.

In planning new openings, of which we do about three a year, all of this comes to bear. Add to that the fact that the staff have not necessarily been recruited at the time we need to start manufacturing… It’s a minefield of estimates of which nationality, which age, which body shape and which sex are going to form part of the finished size ratio, so that a new hotel can launch with all staff wearing a uniform that looks good – and fits like a glove.

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