Air New Zealand has officially revealed globally renowned Kiwi fashion designer Emilia Wickstead as the brand's next uniform designer.
The New Zealand designer has made a name for herself on the world stage, designing clothing for global figures and A-listers alike. Her next project will be creating New Zealand’s most recognisable uniform.
Air New Zealand Chief Customer and Sales Officer Leanne Geraghty said Wickstead stood out after the selection panel was blown away by her concepts.
“Emilia presented outstanding initial designs that were creative, and 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.”
Wickstead said it is 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. 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.”
Born in New Zealand, Wickstead was raised in the suburbs of Pakaranga, Ellerslie, and Parnell in Auckland. After her father, an artist, passed away when Emilia was four, her mother founded her own successful made-to-measure fashion line.
At the age of fourteen Wickstead moved to Italy when her mother remarried, spending her teenage years studying in Milan. There, she became fascinated with the world of luxury fashion. She moved to London to study Design and Marketing at world-renowned university Central Saint Martin’s when she was 18, graduating with Honours in 2007.
Following her studies Wickstead worked at American Vogue and at fashion houses including Giorgio Armani and Narciso Rodriguez before returning to London to establish her eponymous label, opening her first store in Belgravia in 2009.
Originally founding her business with a unique made-to-measure model, Emilia’s collections now comprise seasonal ready-to-wear, homeware, and bridalwear, as well as bespoke and made-to-order services operated from her West London atelier. Her designs have been showcased at London Fashion Week since 2011.
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 Wickstead for design refinements, onboard trials, and uniform wearer consultations before the final designs will be revealed in late 2024.
The Emilia Wickstead 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 coming years.