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Hunter Apparel Solutions

To produce “ethical and sustainable” uniforms for Lumo

Published 01 Nov 2022

Hunter Apparel Solutions (Hunter) has won a three-year, six-figure contract to produce ethical and sustainable uniforms for Lumo, a new train service due to run between London and Edinburgh.

Launching on 25th October, Lumo is a 100% electric rail service that aims to encourage greener and more affordable travel and has bold ambitions to reimagine rail for the 21st century.

Lumo sought a partner that could design, source, and produce a sustainable uniform that would minimise the company’s carbon footprint. The uniform design had to be distinctly different, standing out from previous rail uniforms to reflect the company’s challenger status and ambitions to reimagine rail travel.

Following an extensive and collaborative design process, attire for over 100 staff is currently in production at Hunter’s factory in Derry~Londonderry, which will help create apprenticeships, and preserve jobs and legacy skills in the region.

Helen Wylde, Managing Director at Lumo, said: “We firmly believe in ethical manufacturing, and we wanted to give our colleagues quality attire that they were proud to wear. We have even consciously moved away from the word ‘uniform’ because our approach isn’t uniform, it’s unique and thoughtful, and we wanted garments to reflect that. We wanted gender-neutral apparel options that showcase our wholistic and inclusive approach to business.

“Collaborating with Hunter means we’ve been able to design pieces that are totally bespoke to our needs that have been produced ethically and sustainably in the UK and EU. We’re extremely proud of how this process has been a true reflection of Lumo’s ambitions and that our attire doesn’t look like train uniforms you’re seen before!”

Hunter is renowned for its bespoke approach and Lumo’s own employees played a significant role in the apparel development process by providing feedback directly to the Hunter team about what they wanted from their workwear. Easy maintenance, ethical production, and ‘feeling proud to wear it’ were cited as the three top considerations.

With this information, Hunter’s award-winning design team created eight items for Lumo’s staff to select from: an overcoat, a jumper, a shirt and blouse, a skirt, and pair of trousers, and two hats. Team Hunter took inspiration from catwalk design experience and cutting-edge fabric innovation, in addition to the Lumo team’s desires. The garments’ production has also blended traditional manufacturing skills with high-speed manufacturing robotics.

Hunter designer Thomas McLaughlin added: “The Lumo team is taking on a unique challenge. They’re reimagining rail travel, so our goal was to reimagine the rail uniform. Their clothing needs to be durable and comfortable and reflect their inclusive and sustainable values. Rather than taking inspiration from historic examples, we started this process completely from scratch. Instead of producing a generic garment that would be assigned to everyone, we have designed a gender-neutral, inclusive wardrobe of professional attire the whole Lumo team can select pieces from.”

The garments’ materials are sourced exclusively from fabric mills that employ the bluesign® system, which excludes environmentally harmful substances from the manufacturing process, ensuring that each piece has been produced sustainably. Each item is also imbued with unique properties that improve performance and longevity. For example, the overcoat is made from highly technical blended fibres, and uses a NanoSphere® textile finish which produces a ‘self-cleaning’ effect, making the coat water, oil, and stain repellent.

The design process also incorporated innovative fitting technology powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) and wearer trials that allowed Lumo employees to feed comments back directly to the Hunter team, who were able to make necessary adjustments to fit, details, and choice of fabric. The final garments will be worn not only by Lumo’s on-board staff, but also by their head-office team who will be given professional attire from the range to wear when they visit stations and work alongside Lumo on-board staff at special events.

Simon Hunter Esq, M.B.E., CEO Hunter, said: “This has been a truly collaborative undertaking with a brand that we have great synergy with. We value investing in our employees’ skills and development and throughout the design process it has been clear that Lumo value their employees’ needs in the same way. We’re very proud of the final selection of attire and the positive feedback we have already received from Lumo staff.”