2008 IOY Winners Have Got the Look! NAUMD Names Best Corporate Apparel Programs in the Country


NAUMDClassic design. Trend setting. Furthers the objectives of the brand. Those were some of the comments made by the judges of the 2008 Image of the Year (IOY) Awards, an annual event sponsored by the North-American Association of Uniform Manufacturers and Distributors (NAUMD).

The Image of the Year Awards recognize the best corporate apparel designs in the country and honors both the wearer and supplier of each program. Well over 150 entries were received by the NAUMD this year, a testament to the competition’s popularity and prestige. “The high number of entries is proof that the Image of the Year is seen as a win-win for all involved and a must-participate event for those doing business in the identity apparel market,” says John Gunzler, Image Apparel Institute (IAI) chairman. The IAI, a division of the NAUMD, oversees and administers the 30-year-old contest.

Winners were determined by an impartial panel of judges that included a cross-section of the fashion industry’s most celebrated designers, journalists and fashion authorities. The judges viewed the nominated programs and determined the winners using a virtual judging process with a point system.

“Our single objective was to recognize the best and most effective programs with the Image of the Year Awards as the premier criterion of image apparel design,” says Richard J. Lerman, president of NAUMD. “By engaging outstanding fashion authorities as our judges and streamlining the judging process, we insured the maximum member participation and expert evaluation.”

This year’s awards were handed out on March 29 at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tenn. Five suppliers walked away with top honors that night for designs that ranged from the classic to the contemporary. To learn more about the NAUMD’s Image of the Year Awards, visit www.NAUMD.com.


WINNER: Service & Industry
Brookhurst Inc.
for Mary Kay Inc.

Mary Kay Inc. has been the recipient of numerous IOY awards, including the prestigious Image of the Decade Award in the ’80s, the only company to receive that honor from the NAUMD. Put simply, Mary Kay has set the standard by which all other corporate apparel programs are judged. Its 2007 program, as created by Brookhurst, followed in the same tradition.

Mary Kay Sales Directors are independent contractors. Every year, the uniform program ensemble is updated. The purchase of the ensemble is a choice and is used as a motivational tool that rewards and recognizes accomplishments within the Mary Kay independent sales force.

Each Independent Sales Director’s achievement is recognized through different colored sweaters, the addition of collars and Mary Kay Career Path jewelry. The first-level Independent Sales Director wears a plum colored sweater, shaped with pointelle waist accents and trimmed with iridescent tulle and beads around the scooped neckline.

As an Independent Sales Director builds her business, a new color sweater is earned at preset levels. Independent Senior Sales Directors wear “lilac ice” colored sweaters, trimmed with iridescent tulle and beads. Independent Future Executive Senior Sales Directors’ jackets are trimmed with a distinctive collar piped in black. Independent Executive Senior Sales Directors wear black shells trimmed with black beaded lace and black beaded collars. Independent Elite Executive Senior Sales Directors have jacket buttons patterned after those on the Independent National Sales Director suit buttons that distinguish this highest-level of Independent Sales Director.

This current program debuted in Dallas in July 2007 and is being worn for 12 months, through June 2008. Mary Kay Inc., one of the world’s largest direct sellers of skin care and cosmetics, is headquartered in. In the United States, Mary Kay Inc. has approximately 13,000 Independent Sales Directors.


Two great looks one from the prairie and one from the city resulted in a tie for the Hotel category. At first glance, the co-winners appear to be at opposite ends of the fashion spectrum. Yet while the styling is certainly different, the programs for urban-chic NYLO Hotels and Walt Disney’s more nostalgic Fort Wilderness Resort share many of the elements that incorporate good design.


Walt Disney Entertainment for Walt Disney Fort Wilderness

For a look at something truly different in the uniform industry, a visit to Fort Wilderness Resort is a must. This program presents a collection that celebrates the backwoods seclusion of a pioneer campsite, making guests feel as if they are experiencing the rustic charm of the Western frontier.

Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground greets guests with split-rail fences and pastures of grazing horses. The American frontier theme of the resort prescribes many possibilities for design. The Western frontier, with its unique garment details, was chosen for the new Front Desk and Merchandise programs.

Over 200 Cast Members are included in these two programs. Lightweight poly/cotton fabrics in stripes and solids were chosen to be mixed in interesting combinations for a Western shirt. Various color groupings were used to denote lines of businesses within the resort. Short-sleeve and long-sleeve shirt versions were developed along with an area-specific belt buckle. Vests are an intermediate weather option to be used as an alternative to a jacket. The look is complete with optional Western hats for sun protection.


Cintas for NYLO Hotels

NYLO Hotels redefines urban-style lodging, creating a niche in the mid-scale, full-service hotel marketplace. To carry on the aesthetics of the hotel, NYLO wanted an employee apparel line designed to be an extension of the brand something definitively outside of the norm. It wanted high fashion yet affordability, a retail-inspired look with functionality and durability. It needed the clothes to be fun, modern and chic, but wearable as well. NYLO’s mission was to make people feel comfortable and at home.

To fulfill this vision, NYLO partnered with “Project Runway” contestant Daniel Vosovic and Cintas to deliver its apparel program. The result, known as NYLO Wear, is an extensive line of men’s and women’s clothing that features both front- and back-of-the-house garments.

The color palette dark charcoal grays and khakis draws from the building materials. The collection is designed to work within NYLO’s bold graphic lines, so the clothes are visually interesting in their setting. The stripes on T-shirts, for example, mimic the lines of the exposed piping. With its curvilinear lines, the clothing provides a striking contrast to NYLO’s strong angles. Fabric selections include cotton blends and cotton sateens with a slight sheen.

There are several different versions of pants for men and women, dresses, skirts, and layering pieces including T-shirts, long-sleeve blouses, button-down shirts for men, polos and jackets. The back-of-the-house garments consist of Cintas catalog product merchandised with complementary items from Vosovic’s collection.


WINNER: Cruise Lines
Cintas for Silversea Cruises

Cintas, the recipient of four IOY awards this year alone, created the designs for Silversea, a luxury cruise line. The program encompasses a full range of fashions throughout the ship, from bellman outfits to the sommelier.

The vision of Silversea Cruises was to achieve an affordable fleet-wide update that would help bring back both the traditional image of and the affluence associated with Italian cruising. In addition, Silversea wanted to increase crew morale with a uniform collection that instilled pride and professionalism.

Cintas designers applied a classic maritime look and feel to the premier cruise ship lines of the world. They complemented the rich, contemporary design of the Silversea ships with traditional styles and timeless, elegant colors by imbuing everything with the sophistication that’s reflective of a fine European tradition. They created a program that boasted uniforms with clean lines and a command color scheme.

“Receiving this award is a great honor,” says Alia Abou Asali, director of purchasing for Silversea Cruises. “Having our employees dressed in an award-winning uniform program further refines our guests’ experience as they enjoy the beauty and wonders of the ocean.”


WINNER: Retail Sales
Superior Uniform Group for Walgreens

Superior Uniform Group, no stranger to the Image of the Year awards, won the award this year in the retail sales category for the Walgreens catalog and store uniform programs. Superior designed all job classes and departments within Walgreens to have a consistent, upbeat, professional look. All of the fabrics and styles were chosen for their durability as well as their comfort.

For drivers and maintenance staff, dark colors were chosen to hold up to day-to-day soil from trucks, shelving and outside sources. Wear for drivers includes short- and long-sleeve camp shirts in red windowpane, a pocketed red knit shirt, a gray team jacket with zip-out lining, gray jeans and a navy light-duty jacket. Maintenance employees are outfitted in poplin work shirts, navy work shorts and pants, a khaki/navy cap and a navy four-layer parka.

Employees who work in the stores of this drug chain giant now present a more unified and contemporary look to customers. Apparel for sales clerks includes cobalt knit shirts in male and female silhouettes with embroidery on the back yoke. They’re made of 100 percent polyester for moisture wicking and color retention. Additionally, a women’s woven short-sleeve brushed poplin shirt in cobalt is available. The outfit is pulled together with black twill waist aprons.
Managers have the option of wearing a short- or long-sleeve French blue fine line twill shirt. Custom print ties and scarves are also available. Maternity styles are available in all female garments.

“How exciting for all of us,” says Marji Nelson of Walgreens Corporate Planning. “There was a lot of hard work and effort from all sides on this uniform change, and it is wonderful to see Walgreens setting a standard!”


WINNER: Casino & Gaming
Cintas for Planet Hollywood

Hip, modern and dramatic, Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino is the centerpiece of the Las Vegas strip. Its vision was to have its associates emulate the young Hollywood aristocracy at any given red carpet event. And it wanted to ensure that Cintas would deliver a definitive fashion statement, not just apparel.

One of the most important factors of this program was the choice of colors, textures and surface interest in the garments. Cintas designers combined black velvet with red and purple satin, along with rhinestones, cut in slim ultra-modern styles to make the apparel line truly unique. The designers drew their inspiration from current retail trends and crafted a very glamorous look throughout each job function, without sacrificing functionality and comfort.


Theme Parks & Sports Arenas
Superior Uniform Group for Cincinnati Reds Great American Ballpark

Superior won another IOY award this year for its design and implementation of the Cincinnati Reds Great American Ballpark uniforms. Superior’s goal was to offer a unique, professional uniform while still being somewhat casual and comfortable in all climates. Elements that helped Superior Uniform Group succeed in meeting the objectives included moisture management fabric, bright athletic colors and a “baseball motif” for all the uniforms.

The collection includes the following, all with the Cincinnati Reds logo: metro red short-sleeve camp shirts, metro red short-sleeve V-neck retro shirts, extreme yellow V-neck shirts and white long-sleeve pinpoint oxford shirts.

The Great American Ball Park offers diner-themed (hot dogs, pretzels, popcorn, etc.), grille-themed (BBQ pork sandwich, hot corned beef sandwich, etc.), and pizzeria-themed concessions along with ice cream stands located throughout the ballpark.

“The uniform program was designed to emphasize a baseball atmosphere, and it succeeded. [Team owner] Bob Castellini set a goal to have fans look around the park and say, Wow, we’re the Cincinnati Reds,'” says Don Dierig of Sportservice. “We’re very excited that over eight months of planning and effort has paid off with this award.”


WINNER: Entertainment
Walt Disney Entertainment for Coronado Springs Resort RIX Lounge

RIX Lounge is an upscale nightclub residing at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort. The fashionable interiors designed with Mexican influences required a modern ethnicity in the costumes. 50 Cast Members work within the various positions at the club.

This program features the colors and styles of the region bold, bright reds and traditional blacks. The ladies’ costumes are made of poly/Lycra patterned and solid fabrics, giving a flamenco-style flow to a flounced skirt and sweetheart neckline blouse. Men wear a traditional black trouser with a red point-collar shirt enhanced with tone-on-tone embroidery. An optional vest is offered in a black-and-white stripe fabric that is also enhanced with white geometric embroidery.

These updated traditional Latin costumes give theme and fashion to a chic new establishment. Viva Disney!


WINNER: Restaurants
Blade Uniforms for Arby’s

Four-time Image winner Blade Uniforms has been honored yet again, this time for its work with an existing customer, Arby’s. The quick-service food giant Arby’s has more than 3,500 stores nationwide hadn’t seen an overhaul to its uniform program in ten years. “They came to us looking for a program that would create a uniformed brand image throughout its stores, tie in with their marketing campaign and convey the Arby’s culture to the public,” says Manny delaRosa, executive vice president of Blade Uniforms. Before the redesign, many of the restaurants’ employees wore garments that gave them a separate and inconsistent look.

Not anymore. Decidedly more modern and contemporary, the image is now cohesive throughout Arby’s properties, and the results tie in nicely with the company’s dcor, signage and advertising tag line, “Market Fresh.” Blade took the company’s signature color, red, and incorporated apple green and yellow into the color palette. A more retail-inspired look was achieved by using male and female cuts for crew apparel, rather than the unisex approach of the past. Spandex is used in several of the garments worn by managers, who are also given more apparel options and fabric patterns from which to choose. A new tone-on-tone logo completes this subtle yet updated look.

There are a couple of first-time items used in the new collection. Back-of-the-store employees and those who monitor the salad station now are distinguished by a light-weight poplin chef shirt colored in red. Crew staff now wear caps and visors adorned with a three-dimensional logo, giving the outfits as youthful and fashion-forward feel. Overall, the program is expected to run three years, but Blade will phase in and out items where appropriate to keep the look fresh.


WINNER: Health Care
Cintas for Centra Care

Centra Care, Florida Hospital’s urgent care facility, underwent a major rebranding and renovation of its facilities. It was all about change from top to bottom.

In conjunction with its efforts, it wanted its new image to be complemented by an equally well-designed and thoughtful uniform program, one possessing an aura of trust, professionalism and innovation. Cintas’ apparel program for Centra Care includes apparel for administrative staff, physicians, marketing personnel and nurses.

At the core of its renovation was Centra Care’s new logo. Centra Care wanted it to drive the look and feel of every piece.

Cintas designers responded with an innovation of their own by hospital standards utilizing the new logo as a badge of distinction on numerous pieces, including the custom tie. In order to elevate the branding even higher and deliver a greater level of cohesiveness, the designers used fabric that was the exact same cobalt blue color as the logo to reinforce the association with Centra Care.

“We are ecstatic to be the recipient of such a prestigious award,” says Stacey Blackmon, executive director of Sales and Marketing at Centra Care. “In conjunction with our rebranding efforts, we wanted to use our apparel program to create a consistent patient experience throughout our 14 clinics. The apparel program was key to establishing a streamlined identity and positions our staff to be an extension of the Centra Care brand.”