29 October 2007
Merger of Fashion Designer and Railway Staff Inspires Striking New Uniforms
 
To rich shades of navy blue, khaki and with highlights of yellow, staff of Hong Kong’s future merged railway supported by professional models stepped out in style today (29 October 2007) to give commuters their first glance at the new uniforms designed by Hong Kong fashion guru William Tang.
What was unveiled today was a sharp look that stands out on the platform or the concourse. The uniforms of the public-facing railway operations staff will easily catch the eye of the millions of people who take trains every day, achieved by a clever interplay of yellow with base colours that project a friendly, approachable demeanour.
Speaking at today's fashion show, Mr Andrew McCusker, Operations Director of MTR Corporation said, "We have taken the chance to reflect in these new uniforms the idea of harmony – One company, One team. And indeed, they are the result of a year's teamwork under the guiding inspiration of William Tang that very much involved the staff of the MTR Corporation and the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation (KCRC) in the design process."
Designer William Tang, known for his versatility and ability to deliver powerful expressions on the catwalk, worked from a management brief that placed greater emphasis on a less formal, more customer-friendly look.
Mr Tang says listening was a big part of this design process: staff members were very much involved. "This project stood out because the comments of the staff were considered as significant as the management's. I went back to the staff representatives several times with designs and welcomed their comments, making adjustments as appropriate. I even had staff members model my ideas for those sessions."
"It is very important that staff are comfortable with the end result. After all, they are wearing the uniforms," Mr Tang said. When they officially put on the new uniforms on 2 December 2007, they will already be familiar with them, having had a hand in their creation, he adds.
This expanded design consultation for the uniforms involved up to 200 staff representatives. Mr Tang had to accommodate the needs of the railway employees from an enormous range of jobs with very different needs. In just one example of the attention to detail required, the uniforms for station staff cater for five different levels of warmth to meet the varying needs of those who work in indoor and outdoor environments.
William Tang designed the uniforms for station managers, station staff, station maintenance staff, station assistants, security guards and receptionists. Customers also got a glimpse today of the revamped look for property management staff.
Navy blue with yellow highlights together with a fitted silhouette reflect the station staff's energy and a sharpness that makes them stand out in the crowd. A similar smartness is achieved for engineers with khaki anchor colour while retaining the yellow highlights for continuity. These colours best suit the diversity of the staff and reflect strength in the merged railway company through harmony.
Basic designs are adapted for different work requirements, while fabrics are sympathetic to climate and seasons. Shirts are a cotton mix, and trousers a wool mix. New jackets with removable lining can be just as easily worn in summer under air-conditioning as in winter. Staff who work in the open air will have a quilted coat.
Mr Tang's only concession to hierarchy has been to insist on ties and a more formal jacket for station managers and smart scarves for manageresses "to allow them to retain some authority when needed". Otherwise, all other uniforms are hat-free and tie-free.
To promote the new uniforms, MTR Hello Kitty Heroes have been called on to act as ambassadors to familiarise customers with the new uniforms and with the merged rail network. Dressed in the new station and maintenance staff uniforms, Hello Kitty figurines will be on sale at all MTR Customer Service Centres (except Airport Express) and KCR East Rail and West Rail Customer Services Centres (except Lo Wu and Lok Ma Chau Stations) from 4 November while stock lasts. Each set is priced at $40, but at most two sets can be bought per purchase.
While Hello Kitty's eagerness to wear William Tang's designs is praise indeed, Mr Tang says he is pleased that some staff feel their new uniform is something they would like to wear even on their days off.
 
As a token of appreciation, Mr Andrew McCusker, Operations Director of MTR Corporation (left) and Mr Y T Li, Senior Director–Transport, Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation (right) present MTR Hello Kitty Heroes to famous local artist, Ms Ip Chui Chui, Tracy who helped to introduce the new uniforms for the future merged railway operations at a fashion show held at MTR Hong Kong Station today (29 October 2007).
 
Staff of Hong Kong's future merged railway supported by famous local artists Mr Ko Kwan Yin, Matthew (2nd row, 4th left) and Ms Ip Chui Chui, Tracy (2nd row, 6th left) and professional models stepped out in style today (29 October 2007) to give commuters their first glance of the new uniforms designed by Hong Kong fashion guru William Tang (2nd row, 5th left).
 
MTR Hello Kitty Heroes dressed in the new station and maintenance staff uniforms will be available for sale at all MTR Customer Service Centres (except Airport Express) and KCR East Rail and West Rail Customer Services Centres (except Lo Wu and Lok Ma Chau Stations) from 4 November while stock lasts. Each set is priced at $40, every passenger can buy up to two sets per purchase.