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A Close Up on the 2010 NAUMD Awards

IOY_HiltonThe North-American Association of Uniform Manufacturers and Distributors held its annual convention in Las Vegas this year, where awards for the most outstanding uniform programs were presented in two categories: Best Dressed Safety Apparel and Image of the Year. The first category recognized the best uniform programs worn by those who serve to protect the population, while the second category highlighted the best designs in uniforms that enhanced a product, place and concept.

With 22 awards, NAUMDs subcategories accented both unique appearance and functionality in the workplace. Each division had multiple requirements some similar, some different. Competition was tough. Interestingly, the traits or concepts that made one winner a success was what another winner pooh-poohed.

“New technologies, fabric enhancements, and innovation in design and composition are key to being named the best of the best,” says Richard Lerman, president and CEO of NAUMD.


University Police Department
Red the Uniform Tailor, with Michael Buck
For: University of Delaware Police

 Focus: Customization, keen eye to detail, fit, fabric, quality, attention to unique body shapes.

Specs: 60 officers dressed alike, gold thread from shoulder emblems/hash marks/chevrons, the same color as inlaid cloth stripe on navy pant leg. 14-oz. poly/wool serge, matching Class A military navy dress blouses, wide shoulders, narrow waist. Room for Sam Brown-style gun belt worn over shoulder. Gen. Pershing-styled navy hat. Shirts in long and short sleeve, lighter weight, lighter blue in 11-oz. or 8-oz. fabric. Sewn-in creases, double elbows, reinforced pockets, hidden zipper front.

Key Components: Same design used for years. A revamp and more attention to details and customer needs made all the difference.

County Sheriffs Department
Nyes Uniforms, with Bill Nye (co-winner)
For: Roscommon County Sheriffs Department

Focus: Good-looking dress uniform, custom-measured, every detail attended to. All accompanying uniform accessories provided.

Specs: 30 dress blouses, shirts and pants in tan and brown, with color changes and reversals for various departments. Some wear hats, some dont. The fabric is poly/wool 16.5-oz. elastique.

Key Components: For 75 years, Nyes has been providing public safety apparel. It uses Red the Uniform Tailor, whom Nye feels is the best anywhere, going from off-the-shelf to custom garments. Garments paid for by the town, department by department. Nyes has been a NAUMD winner for the last four years.

County Sheriffs Department
Guidrys Uniforms, with Tom Meagher (co-winner)
For: Vermillion Parish Sheriffs Department

Focus: Tight budget, morale boost and practicality. New sheriff recognized Louisiana floods of Katrina and Rita caused huge personal losses to deputies. Ordered only from the best suppliers: Blauer, Fechheimer, Southeastern, Smith & Warren. Customized stock garments.

Specs: 450 sets made of polyester gabardine, American-made, non-fade, easy-care, less expensive, washable and water resistant. Royal pants with piggyback stripe in yellow-gold and silver, tan shirt with royal and yellow-gold, waterproof LAPD navy jacket with removable lining, Smokey Bear hat with royal trim. A totally new look in Louisiana.

Key Components: Tremendous attention to customers needs, both emotionally and practically. Service, trust, long-term relationships and quality are the secrets to customers. Our focus is on staying positive, says Meagher, president of the family-owned business.

Police Department Under 50 Officers
Red the Uniform Tailor
For: Old Saybrook Police Department, Conn.

Focus: New sheriff with new contemporary design.

Specs: P&F blue poly/wool with lighter blue, knit ties with square bottoms, Trooper cowboy hats, gold trim

Key Components: Image is everything in this business. How a department looks and presents itself is what makes the difference between an agency that can solve a situation with speech versus one getting into a brawl. If the uniform is so classy that no one wants to mess it up, then the instigators will be less willing to engage and the officers will be less willing to fight, says Bruce Klein.

Special Agency
Galls-Aramark, with Molly Roberts
For: U.S. Mint

Focus: Over 200 separate items needed to complete the contract. Appearance is key to the award. Everything matched perfectly: honor guards, operations teams, transporters of coinage, security officers. No counterfeit uniforms plus no counterfeit money equals trust.

Specs: Different for various locations, climates and duties. Cool Max and Under Armor for comfort and a professional, clean look. Navy blue, no striping. Hats vary with function. Outerwear dependent on climate. All badge and patch applications done at Galls. Goods in poly/wool, one weight for everything. Durable, colorfast.

Key Components: The Mint prides itself on classy, traditional looks with new innovations as they are developed, reflects Roberts. This is the second win for Galls and the Mint.


Special Organization
Perfection Uniforms, with Miranda Brock, and dealer Ronks Uniform Center
For: West Virginia Sheriffs Association

Focus: 65 counties wearing the same uniforms, patrol cars painted to match fabric. Grassroots with folks paying for uniforms, one department at a time. Functionality, comfort, water repellency. Teamwork with multiple agencies providing several different aspects of the uniform.

Specs: 800 members from every department, with black shirts and trouser stripe, gray pants, to blend with rugged state terrain. Better technology in manufacturing, stain resistant fabrics, gussets in crotches, expandable waistbands.

Key Components: Sentimentality of statewide public support for uniforms to boost officer morale. The recession has allowed so many people to have so many choices. They could go anywhere, but they chose us, says Brock. The troopers chose uniforms that were non-invasive or frightening, yet reminded the public who was in charge.


Canadian Safety Department
R. Nicholls Distributing Inc., with Brian OConnor
For: Royal Newfoundland Constabulary (Police Department)

Focus: Tremendous attention to detail and comfort, environment, and price.

Specs: 280 members with 1,120 uniform sets, made by Perfection Uniforms. Fabrics are recycled plastic bottles and polyester. Navy with royal braid. Cargo pants, standard forager police cap, and outer body armor. Crotch gussets, expandable waistbands, wicking inside the garments, moisture-repellent outside. Shirts stretch under arms. All uniforms are the same other than ranking.

Key Components: The uniform is basically the same as it was in the past, but new attention to detail is what convinced the Constabulary that we were right for them, says OConnor. We were big enough to handle the order, we were new, they liked our product, and they liked Nicholls.

State Agency
Fechheimer, with Fred Heldman
For: California Highway Patrol

Focus: Tightly specked, well-fitted, high standards of discipline, inspections, and maintenance that projects authority.

Specs: 6,800 uniforms in wools and wool blends, which are best for appearance, comfort and durability. Traditionally khaki colored with campaign hat, and blue and gold trouser braid. Dress uniform includes green jacket and royal blue tie. Cold weather and utility uniforms are dark blue.

Key Components: A Fechheimer customer for decades, the California Highway Patrol sanctions several companies to produce its garments. There is no question, says Heldman, that Fechheimer won the award due to experience and expertise in uniform manufacturing and particularly high-end tailored garments.


Cintas Corp., with Brian Garry, Jamie Overbey, Andi Vance
For: Florida Hospital Cardiovascular Institute

Focus: Apparel program for five different departments within the Florida Hospital Cardiovascular Institute.

Specs: Uniforms trimmed with custom, heart-shaped design along with Florida Hospital logo to honor the focus of the renowned organization.

Key Components: This prestigious award truly reflects the integrity of our apparel program, says Danielle Johnson, assistant vice president of the hospital. This facility is committed to quality care, so we wanted a uniform program that reflected our brand, while enhancing the job functions of each employee. By working with key personnel throughout the process, Cintas helped us to develop a program that met everyones needs.


Hotel, Single Unit, United States
Cintas Corp., with Brian Garry, Jamie Overbey, Andi Vance
For: The Pierre Hotel

Focus: Luxury apparel program balancing the high-class nature of the age-old establishment, with the durability and comfort necessary for work.
Specs: Traditional European styling that combined form and function, enhancing guest experiences and celebrating hotels $100 million renovation.

Key Components: Cintas developed a luxury collection that echoes our brand and the environment in which our employees serve, says Heikio Kuenstle, general manager of The Pierre Hotel. We wanted to set the standard for outstanding hospitality, and an award-winning uniform program further sets us apart from the competition.

Restaurant, Fine Dining
Walt Disney World, with Jodie White and Pam Flint
For: Sanaa, South African motif set in Animal Kingdom Resort Lodge

Focus: Authenticity of design, decor, environmental sensitivity, cultural awareness. Functionality, surprising guests, keeping casts happy. Full size range kept in stock.

Specs: Tremendous research of fabrics and styles. 40 greeters: men in dashiki shirts and slacks with small pillbox kufi hats, women in tightly flared-out skirts and matching tops. 250 wait staff: Slacks with colorful shirts and vests. Two groups of costumes coordinate. Spice, electric blue, rust, brown and beige, or gold, orange, yellow and red. Poly/cotton dyed and printed to look like thick twine/kuba cloth.

Key Components: We are so proud of what we produce here, and its nice to have a chance to brag about our product, laughs White. We are the industry leaders in the type of work we do, and its nice to be recognized for it.


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Cruise Lines
Cintas Corp., with Brian Garry, Jamie Overbey, Andi Vance
For: Royal Caribbean of the Seas

Focus: Providing vacationers opportunities based on their personal styles, preferences or moods.

Specs: Day, evening and formal wear garments, enhancing new neighborhoods concept. Blue theme for day; black charcoal for night. Formal wear is difficult to maintain when dry-cleaning services are not available, however custom poly/wool blends are both easy to care for and durable.

Key Components: These awards are a testament to the way our designers and merchandising team are able to work with our customers and create functional fashions that match any aesthetic, says Vance.


Retail Establishment
Lion Uniform Group, a G&K Services Co., with Jeanna Peifer
For: ampm Convenience Stores (Partnered with Arco and BP gasoline pumps)

Focus: Revamped, transposed into workable uniforms that were comfortable, functional, easy to launder and reasonably priced. Provided eye-catching memory for customer.

Specs: 10,000 uniforms for long- and short-sleeve shirts, male and female stylings, outerwear, and aprons. Pants: employee-provided. Astute design team created garments and coordinating print; pattern done with sublimation color process, accenting stores inventories: Reflects store motto, Too much good stuff.

Key Components: Diversity as company morphs from one focus to another. Identity with branding of corporation is key factor as teamwork plays a huge part.


Apparel Solutions, with Ron Steel
For: Hawaiian Airlines

Focus: 80th birthday for the constantly on-time airlines that completely revamped planes, ticket counters and uniforms. Easy online ordering for each employees job description and garment needs. Meticulous attention to detail. Design styles to complement brand and Asian flair.

Specs: 2,300 uniforms. For ticket counters and attendants: colors muted with teals and azures in blouse and shirt prints, solid grays for elegant blazers and skirts. HMS fabric, 8.5-oz., soft hand, easy care. Baggage handlers in day-glo orange T-shirts.

Key Components: Buttonless blazers have mandarin collars; neither shirts, blouses, nor blazers have pockets; all buttons either monochromatic or non-existent. Minimalist, simple.


Restaurants, Fast Food
Cintas Corp., with Brian Garry, Jamie Overbey, Andi Vance
For: The Panda Express

Focus: Importance of showcasing top-of-the-line apparel for back-of-house staff since the fast food restaurant operates with an exposed kitchen.

Specs: Asian-inspired uniforms include black complementary chef and cook tunics, each with red accents and iconic Panda Express logo on right arm and back. Chef version is differentiated by Chinese character trim. Traditional skull cap was updated and rethought to include mesh panels and adjustable straps. Both uniforms with four-way reversible aprons.

Key Components: Pandas mission is to deliver exceptional Asian dining experiences to our guests during every visit. When guests enter a Panda Express, we want to wow all five senses and showcase the culinary skills of our chefs preparing delicious Asian cuisine with fresh ingredients, says Nader Garschi, executive director of Concept Innovation at Panda Express. Cintas was a great partner in executing that goal by creating a cultural-connector uniform that properly reflected the higher quality of the Panda Express brand.


Special Recognition
Lion Uniform Group, a G&K Services Co., with Jeanna Peifer
For: Class V

Focus: Coterie designer, Richard Tyler, produced high-end, tailored group of garments. Elegant, classy, eye-catching in 138 countries. Friendly, employee approachable, comfortable.

Specs: 25-50 employees in each location.
14 different colors to accent white blouses and shirts, black blazers, skirts or slacks, and outerwear. Linings, collars, scarves, accessories, jewelry. Elegant with subtle but definite weave and presence of religious crosses.

Key Components: Customer at once drawn into theme, engaged by garments.


Hotel, Single Unit, Canadian
Omega Uniform Systems, with Margaret Ramsdale
For: The Pan Pacific Hotel Vancouver

Focus: Doormens uniforms coordinated with glass and steel building, lake, mist, mountains and gray environment. Each employee has a web account for ordering, garments drop-shipping to front door.

Specs: Four to six doormen; 24 uniforms overall. Monochromatic look: blacks, charcoals, and grays. Clean design matching the simplicity of the structure. Winter uniforms charcoal with light gray accents; summer, lighter weight in lighter gray with charcoal accents. Pewter buttons, silver striping in matte finish.

Key Components: The Pan Pacific uniforms are the result of taking traditional styling and interpreting it in a contemporary way, says Ramsdale. Everything is neutral, and nothing is shiny. Low contrast, minimalist, low key. The customer was thrilled with the aesthetics, and the doormen loved the functionality as well as the style.


Restaurants, Multi-Unit
Superior Uniform Group, with Janice Henry, Viv Smith, and Sandy Pegler
For: Rubys Diner

Focus: Theme is paramount; the visual experience. Complete dedication to customer preference.

Specs: 1940s red and white: Gals in white half aprons, red and white striped outfits, waitress headbands; guys in black pants, slim-Jim ties, white broadcloth shirts and soda-jerk hats. Everything matches.

Key Components: This is a perfect example of a manufacturer giving the customer exactly what he wants. Its about customer attention and having a wonderful time. How lucky we are to have such a great in-house design department!? says Henry.


Arena or Sports Facility
Walt Disney World, with Jodie White and Pam Flint
For: ESPN Wide World of Sports

Focus: Create a costume that reflects branding of new partnership representing all sports. A today look that cast members feel good
about. Comfortable, easily sized.

Specs: 700 cast members; 8,500 costumes. 85 percent wear ESPN red polos with black pants or shorts, red fleece jackets or windbreakers; 15 percent in same outfit with light gray instead. Baseball caps. Champion stretch athletic fabrics, wicking for moisture, safety reflective tape, logos everywhere.

Key Components: Cast having a very good time and feeling good about themselves.


Hotels, Multi-Unit
Superior Uniform Group, with Janice Henry, Viv Smith, and Sandy Pegler
For: The Hilton Corporate

Focus: Global involvement with environment, ecosystems and going green. Details, design, enhancing interior decor.

Specs: Color palette: chocolate, bark, charcoal with black. Neutrals and earth tones only. Color forecasting and design. Pants, skirts and blazers in stunning blues; silver and bronze solids and a stripe in blouses and shirts. Eco-friendly fabrics: recycled polyester, standard polyester, Lycra. Washable, stretch elbows, moisture-wicking backs, soft hand, luxurious feel. Two Superior style groups involved: Select & Signature.

Key Components: Younger employees want trendy designs with ecology and comfort in mind. Cerebral experience, taking into account the edifice, purpose of the uniforms and high fashion so uniforms can be worn on the street.


Service Apparel
Brookhurst Inc., with Elena Morgan
For: Mary Kay Inc. and its Red Jacket Program

Focus: High fashion, fitting all figures and ages. Looking fabulous to fit the image of the cosmetic giant.

Specs: 13,000 people involved. Multiple specs, depending on year of design and level of achievement within Mary Kay. Fabrics vary. This year, mlange worsted wool fabric with silk piping in black. Skirts available in two styles and five lengths. Jackets available in three styles in three lengths. Additional accessories, prints, sweaters and tops available.

Key Components: Durable, comfortable, able to be worn year-round throughout the world. Integrity of garment and good looks for the lifetime of the program is a must.


Unisync Group Ltd., with Ryan Beliveau
For: Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort

Focus: Beautiful look and fit, comfort, type of garment, rush order, custom measuring.

Specs: 150 uniforms, black cocktail. Durable, body-hugging, polyester/Spandex-jersey blend, machine washable.

Key Components: At Unisync, we have some of the best people in the industry who can bring an image to reality, says Beliveau. In addition to developing and manufacturing these highly customized garments and uniforms, we have a long history with high-end garments. Total program management differentiates us from other companies. Our 100,000-sq.-foot distribution center says it all.