A crewmember’s uniform is often the first way to identify the yacht on which that crewmember works, and is a useful tool during the boat shows when swarms of crew walk up and down the docks – all in their different uniforms that provide a short story of the yacht itself. But this hasn’t always been the case. In the past, little thought was given to the uniform’s ability to portray the personality of an individual yacht and its owner.

“The classic superyacht crew uniform from the 1980s consistent of limited variation and was traditionally navy or white. Crews were dressed in what was considered a typical ship officer’s uniform – quite formal and with limited functionality. Rank and status were important visual features of those uniforms, with epaulettes, blazers and hats always making up part of the wardrobe. Overalls featured heavily in what was considered ‘workwear’ for deckhands and engineers, while stewardesses and interior staff were again outfitted in quite formal attire with gloves and full-length dresses being the norm,” explains Duthie Lidgard, business development manager at Events Clothing.

Since then, uniforms have seen a dramatic evolution, as is evident when you step aboard any yacht or into any superyacht hub. “Over the last decade, crew uniform has embarked on a vast evolutionary journey, deviating away from the very definition of uniformity … towards a notion of personalised statements,” adds Paula Herbert, showroom assistant at Dolphin Wear. “As the yachting industry has developed, so its concept of term ‘uniform’. Yachts are now more concerned with customisation and personalisitation rather than with standardisation and even more importantly, fashionability and personalisation now carry almost as much importance as functionality. Uniform has become an extension of the yacht’s décor and plays an important role in creating one singularly aesthetically appealing theme expressed throughout the boat. Owners and crew are using the ability of clothes to make a statement to express themselves and project some of their yacht’s unique personality.”

Images courtesy of Dolphin Wear's 2004 catalogue.

An example of this is a project currently underway with Dolphin Wear’s special production department. “[The department] is currently working on making use of personalisation right down to the very tip of the boardshort laces, which have the boat’s name engraved on them. These shorts are also made with fabric that mirrors important aspects of the boat and a poem in the back that echoes its philosophy.”

In addition to personalisation, the overall appearance of crew uniform has taken a more casual turn, explains Lidgard. “Garments have become far more casual – but still smart – and are very functional and tailored to suit particular requirements, such as off or on charter, whether the boss is on or off, water sports and evening formal wear.” Moreover, fabric choice is becoming ever-more taken into consideration, with sustainable, eco-friendly fibres and UV protection and durability more common requirements.

With this much change occurring in just 30 years, during which, some of the time, the industry was known to very few indeed, promise for the uniform sector’s future evolution is big.

The Crew Report would love to hear from crew about what you’d like to see evolve in the uniform sector. Please comment below or join our debate on uniform by clicking here.

The crew of motoryacht Illusion have opted for a black uniform. Image courtesy of Events Clothing.

If you've found this story to be 'a report worth reading', and you would like to enjoy access to even more articles, insight and information from The Superyacht Group, then you may well be interested in our VIP print subscription offer. We are inviting industry VIPs to register for a complimentary subscription to our print portfolio, which includes the most insightful information on the state of the superyacht market. To see if you qualify for our VIP subscription package, please click here to fill in an application form