McDonald's is known more for fast food than fashion, but that may be changing now that the company has unveiled new retro-look uniforms for the Summer Olympics in London.
Set to debut at McDonald's' four Olympic Park restaurants, the uniforms will be first be worn by 2,000 handpicked Olympic employees. This fall, they will be rolled out to the rest of the company’s 87,500 U.K. staff.
The new A-line skirts and slim-cut pants come in khaki green and will be paired with plaid shirts for customer care assistants. Managers get to spice up their black suits with mustard scarves, belts and dark, skinny ties, while the staff behind the counter will don polos, caps and long aprons.
McDonald's asked designer Wayne Hemingway, founder of the Red or Dead label, to update and remake the staff’s look. Hemingway and his team then went out of their way to work with McDonald's employees to find out what would and wouldn’t work for them.
“When we spoke to the staff, they let us know that they wanted something that they felt good going to work in,” Hemingway told TODAY.com. “We took inspiration from the new McDonald's restaurants that are more like serious eating establishments. It’s why we got rid of the baseball caps, which reminded us of petrol pump (gas station) attendants, and are not something you see in a proper restaurant.”
Hemingway's job was made more complicated by the company's desire to make its new uniforms sustainable as well as chic. After use, the new aprons will be recycled.
Staff response to the new uniforms has been overwhelmingly positive, McDonald's told TODAY.com. The kudos must be a relief to both the company and the designer, who spent 18 months collaborating on the new look.
“It’s important to our crew that they feel comfortable and confident in their uniforms,” said a McDonald's spokeswoman. “Our uniform is something that we continually review and revisit to make sure it’s working well for our employees and that it’s representing the business at its best.”
It’s not the first time that the company hired a big name designer for its uniforms: Four years ago, it commissioned Bruce Oldfield to remake the company’s look.
“Our role as the official restaurant for the London 2012 Olympic Games provided the perfect stage upon which to showcase our new uniforms and introduce them to our crew, our customers and all who will be watching or attending the Games this summer," said the spokesman.
McDonald's is expecting Olympic size crowds at the Games, with its main restaurant - its biggest ever - offering seating for 1,500. Among its four restaurants in the Olympic Park, McDonald's plans to serve more than 1.75 million meals over the course of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Fitting with its push toward sustainability, after the Games, all of the furniture and equipment - even light bulbs and switches - in the flagship restaurant will be used by other McDonald's restaurants in the U.K.