As part of Sandals Resorts‘ 40th-anniversary celebrations, the company commissioned fashion designer Stan Herman to reimagine the uniforms across its entire resort portfolio. The inaugural Anniversary Collection debuted at the opening of Sandals Royal Curaçao earlier this year.
“As we approached our milestone 40th anniversary and announced ambitious growth plans for our portfolio, we began to reflect on each touchpoint of the Sandals experience—and every conversation, whether it be about our customer journey or our entry into our newest island of Curaçao, started in the same place: with our team,” said Adam Stewart, executive chairman, Sandals Resorts. “For more than four decades, our team members have served as the heart and soul of our company and often the first expression of our brand that guests experience on resort. We set out to give our uniforms the same consideration as other critical elements of the Sandals experience, but we knew we wanted this partnership to go well beyond clothing items.”
He added, “This was about capturing the Sandals lifestyle and taking it to the next level. And there is no one that understands the integral connection between brand sentiment and employee satisfaction better than Stan Herman. Meeting Stan was inspiring. Like my late father, he’s a self-made entrepreneur, immense talent and award-winning designer who this year celebrates 70 years in the fashion industry.”
With uniforms curated for a wide range of categories and venues, Herman spent many hours in conversation with Sandals team members to authentically capture a sense of place while prioritizing comfort and ease of care. Updated fibers and recycled materials are also incorporated throughout several pieces, upholding Sandals’ commitment to sustainability in the Caribbean.
Herman explained the inspiration for the design of the Curaçao resort’s uniforms.
“The island colors proved to be the first inspiration,” he said. “She was our mood board—from the rainbow row houses to the Delft navy and white touches that are a nod to the island’s Dutch heritage and the fantastic colors of the resort’s expansive nature preserve and stunning beach. My design partner, Michael Schwarz, and I decided early on that the island’s colors would be woven throughout the design scheme and to create a sense of sophistication and cohesiveness, the word ‘washed’ immediately came to mind. It kept the palette organic to the island while creating a sense of calm befitting of the luxury resort; think soft sands merging with light ocean blues and washed corals, teals and yellows.”
Since uniforms had to be designed for team members in each part of the hotel, Herman came up with a number of styles.
“We always approach any design project as a collection or a wardrobe, knowing that within that one cohesive story there needs to be a variety of specialized looks,” the designer said. “With more than 15,000 team members throughout the Caribbean, we knew the scale of this project would be vast. When we started to explore the Sandals brand, we quickly understood the word ‘uniform’ didn’t quite capture the story. We wanted the clothes to be part of the journey that brings guests through the resort experience—taking guests from check-in to relaxing on its pristine beach to indulging in one of the resort’s 11 dining options. No moment should feel the same and yet, each interaction should build upon and complement one another.”
He added, “The bellmen, greeters and front-of-house staff, for example, are outfitted in blues and sand shades to mirror the bright sea setting, which transitions to rich navys and earth tones in the evening to add warmth. The restaurants each needed their own identity as well. In the Latin-themed restaurant, Zuka, we relied on a playful yet bold ruffle detail on the shirts, whereas for Aolos, the resort’s Greek expression, tunics accented with navy brought in inspirations of the Mediterranean. Perhaps our most exciting project was the iconic Sandals Resorts butlers. At Sandals, the butlers have become a quintessential part of the experience. We thought, ‘How do we modernize the uniform without losing its luster and prestige?’ The answer came to us in a gorgeous slim-cut navy suit with a pop of color from a refined but playful pocket square, and my favorite nod to the brand’s famed logo, a simple ‘S’ pin adorning a crisp cream shirt in the classic Sandals script. Perfection.”
The uniform collection will be unveiled across all Sandals Resorts hotels through a phased approach over the next two years. Plans are already underway for entirely new designs to be featured at the new Sandals Dunn’s River opening in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, in 2023. Uniform collections are also coming to the company’s family-friendly Beaches Resorts brand, with unique touches inspired by each respective destination.
“Stan is already finding inspiration in the resort’s many water features, sourced from the natural reserves of the rivers throughout the property,” said Stewart about the designs for the Jamaica resort. “After all, Jamaica is the land of wood and water, and I cannot wait to see how that translates to our team.”