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McDonald’s Olympics Uniforms: “Mad Men” Chic

Filed under Advertising, Branding

McDonald’s unveiled new uniforms that will be worn by the crew working its four restaurants at next month’s London Olympics and subsequently by staff at all UK restaurants. The look borrows from TV’s “Mad Men” while rejecting baseball caps as being “too American.”

Created by British designer Wayne Hemingway, co-founder of the Red or Dead label, the uniforms’ color palette that includes “gherkin green” polo shirts for women and “mustard yellow” shirts for men.

Managers get black pants and white shirts; customer care assistants wear checked shirts with dark green pants or skirt. Skinny ties for male managers are “just a little bit of ‘Mad Men,’” Hemingway told The Telegraph. “We wanted classic design. A narrow tie will always be fashionable. There is a very subtle hint to the mod look, which has never gone out of fashion. Fred Perry has never gone out of fashion,” Hemingway said. “That’s why we’ve gone for a polo shirt with a bit of a trim.”

McDonald’s says the uniforms were intended to complement the colors used in the chain’s remodeled UK restaurants and were created with employee input and feedback. The company says that 300 employees in five restaurants tested the designs, with their approval needed before production began. Aprons crew will wear are “closed loop compatible and recyclable,” the company said in announcing the new look. “We’re delighted to have an iconic British design team, led by Wayne Hemingway, on board to help us create our new look,” said Jez Langhorn, VP-People for McDonald’s UK. “They’ve succeeded in coming up with a contemporary and fresh design that I know our people will feel proud to wear.” Watch a company video about the design process here.

The look includes painters caps in place of baseball caps. Hemingway explained it to The Telegraph this way: “We wanted to break away from baseball caps. These are more bakers caps or something you’d find in a pizzeria in Italy. I have a thing about baseball caps: they are a little bit too American, and they are about sport and petrol pump attendants.”