RETAIL INSPIRED APPAREL
If your logo is outside your door, it doesn't
need to be prominent on your uniforms. Your
guests already know where they are, so take
engagement to the next level with branding
on team apparel that communicates something
new. Use the space your logo previously
occupied, and express your vibe with a
The retail world is creatively applying decoration
techniques beyond the typical screen
print or embroidery. Full color/full garment
sublimation allows huge branding statements;
patches and sewn-on labels hearken back to a
nostalgia of yesteryear, and lasering provides
subtle branding that never washes out. Take
inspiration from these trends for your
Uniforms - fully custom apparel is easier than
Additionally, tie dye and baseball sleeved T’s
are the comeback kids of 2018. Everything old
is new again, but in better fabrics and with
longer lasting decoration. Retail is exciting
and always pushing the design boundaries.
It’s OK to borrow, copy and re-purpose.
Remember imitation is the sincerest form of
flattery and a great way to attract younger
workers to your brand.
In the way of garments, T-shirts have
become the standard attire for quick
service and fast casual establishments,
which is a good thing. Your
hires like to wear comfortable
clothing and what you provide
should feel somewhat like what
they choose to wear outside of work.
Your branded apparel can have the
same cool vibe as a concert tee, it
just takes a bit of design magic.
Attract younger workers with a uniform
that reflects a cool retail vibe.
The restaurant industry is the king of the
limited time offer. Your uniform program
can be the well-dressed queen. Fashion
can be fickle and quickly goes stale, so
take a page from fast fashion with a
uniform that keeps it fresh. Think LTO
for your branded gear.
An example of this concept in action
is a national baked goodies brand
that currently maintains no inventory
and all purchasing is done on a monthly
basis. Each owner jumps on the current
offering when it suits their taste, with
revolving items from headwear to aprons,
T-shirts to bandannas. They get seasonal
garments in a timely manner, and the staff
loves the frequently released new gear.
For brands with routine menu changes,
regularly scheduled LTO’s and seasonal
offerings, it is the way to think about
uniform management. Why not hit the
refresh button more frequently?
Keep your look and appeal fresh with
gear that changes with the season.
Personal Expression isn’t going away
anytime soon. We all want to be unique,
so what do we do? Mix it up, with an
assortment of shirt styles, colors, and
imprints that all go together but look
refreshingly different! Like you all shop at
the same store, but in different departments.
Someone likes Athleisure gear and
another person wants to be a bit more
If your establishment caters to the cultured
and creative set, then a uniform program
should be a bit less uniform and a bit less
programmatic. Yes, you still want to have a
dress code and a standard that is enforceable.
So set the tone. Give options.
Allow a palette of well-suited
colors, silhouettes, and fabrics
that all support your brand in
a brand-centric way.
A uniform can sometimes
look too uniform.
Not only is it possible but, for certain
employee groups, it can be an attractional
element that gives you the hiring edge.
When people get to choose what they
wear, they tend to wear it with pride,
confidence, and panache.
Think in terms of collections; seasonally
adjusted; with more regular and trend-setting
additions. Then your important brand
ambassadors get to choose what they put
on from an assortment of well-chosen
items. It’s a branding win for all involved.
AVOID HIGH FASHION MISSTEPS
Have you noticed the recent fad? Restaurant groups are hiring well-known, high-fashion
designers to re-do their uniform program. Have you also noticed the response? Almost
no one likes the results, and these uniform launches have been met with mockery, and
You already have all you need to create a pretty awesome uniform update: your staff.
Bring your fashion design in-house. Get opinions, input and powerful ideas about what
real people actually want to wear. Your frontline is a rich treasure trove of age-appropriate
creativity. With a little guidance and know-how, you get a fresh look that won’t make
headlines for all the wrong reasons.
Tap in-house talent with outside
guidance for a perfect culture fit.
THE COUNTER TREND
Dress shoe sales are down. Career wear
sales are down. What’s up? Casualization
of America is what’s up. Athleisure has
gone from weekend to weekday, gym to
Counter this trend by differentiating your
look with something a bit classier and
smidge dressier; with a whole lot
more panache. We call this the
Crisp pressed shirts can oomph
the professionalism of a turnip.
No offense meant to turnips.
When you want to turn heads
and make your guests feel extra
special, invest in a look that
reflects a by-gone sensibility
for dressing to impress.
Blazers are coming back, as are
slacks, polished shoes, and neck ties. You
may have to teach some youngsters what
a Windsor knot is but who doesn’t like the
look of freshly pressed pleats?
is no hoax!
A funny thing happens when we humans
wear fancier clothes. We behave a bit
fancier too. We become ladies and
gentlemen. Capture the timeless respect
that a well-fitting ensemble garners from
Set a dressier tone and let
staff live up to the image.
Ready to think differently about your employee uniforms? A fresh take
doesn’t have to mean a complete makeover. Optimizing your look can
happen in stages, just be ready to make the necessary changes to achieve
your objectives. In our hyper-connected world a uniform could end up
being the star of the next social media sensation, for better or worse.
Increased engagement and retention of your front line are well-supported
goals with image management. People like to like what they are wearing.
It makes them want to come to work.
Attract the brand ambassadors you need and want with a beautifully
designed and well-executed uniform program.
SALES@RCHQ.COM | 503.655.1227 | RCHQ.COM
PORTLAND, OR | KANSAS CITY, MO