Spanx founder Sara Blakely knows first-hand how important compression garments can be. “I got a blood clot in my leg two years ago after a snow skiing accident,” she says. “So I learned a lot about the importance of having some compression when you fly.” That experience—well, and the fact that the Atlanta-based brand is a worldwide leader in the foundational garment industry—made Spanx the perfect hosiery and support partner for Delta Airlines’s new uniform project with fashion designer Zac Posen. The uniforms, which were three years in the making, debuted worldwide today with more than 64,000 Delta employees making the switch overnight.
“Every woman wants to look beautiful from the inside out and the foundation is so important,” says Barb Lilland, who has worked on Delta’s airport customer service team for almost five years and participated in the cross-divisional uniform committee to ensure that all employee groups were heard in the process. “Partnering with Spanx meant that all of our uniform groups were going to have great foundational garments so that the uniforms would look gorgeous.”
Spanx joined the uniform revamp project nearly three years ago but kept their involvement under wraps until the debut this week. Female Delta employees will wear Spanx graduated compression shaping sheers hosiery, men can wear compression crewnecks and tanks, and all employees will have access to the brand’s compression socks. The sheer hosiery is also available in seven skin tones. “It was a great collaboration because Delta is a very diverse group of employees and we’re global,” Lilland says. “So Spanx was able to make sure they’ve got something for every skin tone in the Delta family.”
So far the response to the new uniforms from Delta team members has been positive. At a fashion show at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to debut the uniforms this morning, Blakely chatted with a few employees, including a mother and daughter flight attendant pair. “The mother said she hadn’t worn a dress [to work] in 15 years,” Blakely says. “She said today was the first time she’s had the confidence to put the uniform on and wear a dress because of Spanx. She looked amazing.”
As someone who will wear the Spanx- and Zac Posen-designed uniforms (manufactured by Wisconsin-based Lands End) to work every day, Lilland is happy with the finished product. “When we first started talking to Zac Posen, we said we wanted to compete on an international level, even in our uniforms. I think he hit it out of the park,” she says.
Beyond what the new look will mean for the thousands of Delta employees worldwide, Blakely notes that the launch is a great testament to the power of Atlanta-based brands. “It’s so exciting. There’s so much happening in Atlanta,” she says. “I love it when homegrown companies collaborate and support each other. No pun intended.”