After six years as a superyacht stewardess, from a laundry and third stew on a 50m charter yacht, to a second stew responsible for uniform on 93m Nahlin to a chief stewardess on a 73m motoryacht, Jessica Castle has taken her experience with crew uniform to new levels, establishing the very recently launched Haute Yacht Wear. Here, Castle talks to The Crew Report about why Haute Yacht Wear is different from its competitors in an already-crowded market, and the changing requirements of crew uniform due to more adventurous cruising.

A game of crew cricket on board M/Y Talitha. Credit: Guy Morrall

Castle’s new Haute Yacht Wear line of uniform for superyacht crew is based on something different, Castle explains. “Our goal has been to differentiate ourselves. The first and most important has been for us to create an in-house line of pieces that meet the unique needs of the yachting industry, while not looking like uniform. We want to create pieces that crew want to be in, that have runway-inspired styles so crew will fit in with the glamorous style of the yachts and their destinations.” This focus, Castle explains, is part of her vision for what she hopes will be a fashion-focused evolution of crew uniform. “I would like to see a more fashion forward take on uniform, coupled with new innovations in fabric and thoughtful, practical details that enhance performance and functionality,” she explains.

This high-end focus could provide a solution to a problem many face when it comes to uniform: evening service wear. “When I was a chief stewardess on a 73m we could never nail down the evening wear, as [the owners] wanted beach dresses for the girls, but they were either too short or too skimpy. After endless attempts, [the owners] decided to keep us in the day uniform for all occasions.”

"Partially due to the recent influx of younger or highly-active yacht owners, we are seeing the uniform needs changing. We have clients who are requesting workout or athletic-inspired outfits."

However, while Castle is hoping for a high-end focus when it comes to uniform (below), she is also aware of the importance of meeting the present-day requirements; that being, a more athletic approach to design. “Because today’s yachts are exploring much further afield than the traditional cruising grounds of the Mediterranean and Caribbean, partially due to the recent influx of younger or highly-active yacht owners, we are seeing the uniform needs changing. We have clients who are requesting workout or athletic-inspired outfits during the day so they can go up on extreme hikes with their guests, then jump straight into water-sports for when they are cruising remote, tropical destinations,” Castle explains.

It’s not just about the expansion of activities, however; equally important are the temperatures of particular destinations. “The area we will see change is the Caribbean and further afield where crew currently rely on their casual uniforms to get by, because their formals are far too dressy, or when they are required to wear them they seem out of place and stiff, while the crew melt in the heat. I think this change will be a great thing for crew as they will feel more comfortable in their surroundings and will be dressed according to the activity levels and temperatures of their destination. For example, when a yacht pulls into a sports fishing destination in Central America, the crew can easily fit in with their cool versatile fishing shirts that will easily segway into a fishing excursion with the owner and his guests, while keeping them cool and protecting them from the Sun.”

Crew are becoming more and more involved with yachts’ uniforms, and the upcoming boat show season will prove an exciting opportunity to discover just what crew want from the uniform sector, and how they predict it will evolve.

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