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Kitting out Superyacht crew

Just as with any staff uniform, crew on board superyachts have to look the part, whatever their role, whatever the hour.  They’re expected to deliver a consistently high-quality of service, so the quality and sustainability of their workwear is paramount.

We caught up with Ed Taylor from Taylor Made Designs (TMD) based on the UK’s south coast who explained that getting crew kit right is so much more than flicking through catalogues and printing logos on garments.  It’s about uniform management.  A process which often starts right back at the beginning of the boat build, or subsequent refit.  Ed told me “we’re often called in to work with interior consultants on superyacht builds and refits to ensure crew uniform is an extension of the superyacht character and brand.”

Because they source from hundreds of different suppliers from across the globe, TMD aren’t limited by their own range of workwear. But they make it easier for their clients because they do the leg work.  As Ed explains “we’ll consult with our clients to ascertain what garments they require.  We'll spend time documenting preferences, researching new brands and suppliers if required, looking at fabric options, available colours, ranges, sizes, market trends, quality, sustainability, you name it!  Before finally collating from all suppliers, branding if required and supplying on time. The ultimate single source Uniform Management supplier.”

Established in 1993, TMD started branding uniform for pubs and clubs but quickly expanded into other industries such as; leisure, hospitality, transport and marine including; cruise ships and superyachts. Now specialising in Uniform Management.

Ed told me “I’m often called to consult on the uniform and workwear for a new build or refit project, where we’ll look through rendered drawings, proposed furnishings and carpets, materials, colours, style etc before being asked to suggest a uniform range that fits the environment and purpose.   We’re often in the yards, talking with Captains, Interiors Managers, Chief Stews or Build Crews looking at ideas and plans.”

Superyachts generally stick with more neutral, classic tones, like navy, white and grey.  In the main, owners don’t want to be distracted by their crew wearing bright lurid colours, crew deliver a discreet service, so they need to blend with the interiors. That said, it doesn't mean a uniform can't be different, there are many brands out there offering beautiful, fun and comfortable options.

Ed and his team understand the environment and conditions crew work under, hot climates, either sweating on deck or below in the engine room, so they need garments that won’t show perspiration marks and stains.  Fabric technology has developed massively over time, with Teflon coating, machine washable and high-quality breathable fabrics, manufactured with sustainability in mind. Garments that need to last and withstand the rigours of physical work, for long periods of time and sometimes in extreme climates.  Ed believes “It’s up to us to educate our clients about the best, most suitable garments available and to make sure those garments are future proof, that they’ll be available to re-order.  We often store additional stock in our warehouse, so clients can top up easily.  This goes for more complex bespoke items as well, but these need to be managed due to MOQ's (minimum order quantities).”

Take advice on the more obscure workwear or retail brands because they tend to hold seasonal stock items, which can run out. So, when it comes to re-stocking or topping up for a new crew member, you want to be sure you can order said items that will match existing uniform exactly. 

Crew numbers might range from 15 to 80, depending on the size of yacht, and might typically have 3 or 4 uniform changes a day when the owner is on board, across different departments.  For example; an on-charter uniform will be smarter, for when boss arrives and off-charter, smart but more comfortable for when the boss is not about.  Garments might include: day wear, evening wear, tropical wear, sportswear, rash vests, trainers, deck shoes, pants, polo shirts, shorts, socks, caps to jackets.

TMD has grown considerably within the marine sector over the last 6 years, proudly providing a more personal service because they’ve been able to build relationships with their clients.  Ed told me “we're very relationship driven.  We have fantastic relationships with our clients.  Aside from this, it really is a uniform management process and our clients know that if they need anything, we’ll sort it!”

For information or to arrange a consultation contact www.taylormadedesigns.co.uk

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