Uniforms are such an integral part of an establishment – not only are they a natural brand extension, but they help to create a cohesive team. Marion Reed first became a household name through her fashion label Marion & Lindie, which she co-owned. After leaving Marion & Lindie, she intended to take a sabbatical, but there were other plans in store for her.

“While I was on sabbatical, I manufactured some yoga pants and sleep tunics,” says Marion Reed. “An interior decorator that was working on the North Island resort commissioned me to design and manufacture the resort’s uniforms after seeing my new range.” And thus began the Marion Reed Design uniform journey.

Using her considerable design skills and eye for fashion, Marion and her team create bespoke uniforms for establishments, and also have a ready-to-wear range that can be adjusted and embellished to suit an establishment’s style. We spoke to Marion about trends she’s noticing, her design process, and more about one of her latest projects, which was creating the uniforms for luxury resort Miavana in Madagascar.

Hospitality Marketplace (HM): What are some of the things you take into account when designing and creating uniforms for the hospitality sector?

Marion Reed (MR): We take into account the different body shapes and sizes when designing, because not everyone is shaped like a supermodel. We also look at the appropriateness of the garment, ensuring that skirt lengths are suitable, men’s necklines do not show too much hair or ladies too much cleavage.

We also consider the temperature that staff will be working in when deciding on fabrication and styling. Much of the work that we do is for game lodges in South Africa and Botswana, and resorts in The Seychelles and Madagascar where staff are working in hot, non-air-conditioned environments.

Fabrics also need to be cool yet very durable as clients require longevity of the garments so that they hold up to constant wash and wear.


HM: What is the process you undertake after being asked to design uniforms for clients?

MR: I feel there should always be some form of synergy with the interiors of the lodge. It always assists us to design on-site to get a feel of the establishment. We choose fabrics and colours that will complement the interiors and it’s good to receive immediate feedback on what the staff would like to wear and what their job entails.

We have a wide range of tried and tested styles that we show the client. These can be personalised to the establishment by the fabric, print or embroidery done on the garment. Alternatively, we can design and manufacture something unique for the client.

HM: What are some of the trends you’re noticing in uniforms for the hospitality industry?

MR: The main trend is that establishments are taking everything into consideration. How employees look are as important as how they act, and sets the tone.

In terms of styling in the more corporate projects we are seeing that men and women are wanting a slimmer look. Shirts are cut closer to the body which means incorporating darts and slimmer trousers. We are constantly looking at fashion trends to influence us in our design process.


HM: Can you tell us more about creating uniforms for the Miavana team? What was the brief and what was the process involved in creating the uniforms?

MR: We worked very closely on designs, fabric and colour selection with Lesley Carstens from the architecture firm Sylvio Rech and Lesley Carstens Architecture Practice.

The brief was to incorporate the designs and colours with the interiors. The French Breton stripe plays a large part in the interiors and we incorporated this stripe into the uniforms. The colours used were beautiful pastel, sorbet colours.

Lesley envisaged a 60s twist on island wear and the French Breton stripe theme, using cool natural fabrics such as cotton, muslin and linen to give the uniforms a relaxed feel.

The colours needed to be fresh and fun, connecting with the interiors as well as Miavana’s stunning natural setting. Most of the colour inspiration was taken from the exquisite pink and pastel hues of the sunset as well as the idea of delicious sorbets, ice creams and turquoise.

This translated into stripe sarongs for the beach, trendy men’s dropped-crotch shorts and ladies kaftans.

For more information on Marion Reed Design, click here to visit the website, and to find out more about Miavana, click here.

*Photographs of Miavana’s uniforms sourced from Time + Tide.