New uniforms for Empire State Building workers take cue from the skyscraper’s Art Deco flair

January 25, 2023

All photos courtesy of the Empire State Building

Employees of the Empire State Building’s 86th-floor Observatory will look a little different the next time you see them. The uniforms of Observatory hosts and gift shop attendants have been given a modern makeover, courtesy of fashion designer Peyman Umay, who for the last two years worked to create a look that would complement the style of the iconic Art Deco building and the observatory’s exhibit galleries. Replacing the previous burgundy and black attire, the new uniforms are light gray with blue trimming on the lapels, collars, and pocket flaps.

The design for the uniforms was chosen in a vote by followers of the Observatory’s social media accounts. The uniforms are adorned with custom embroidered patches, printed ties, and lasered metal buttons that honor the building’s history and architectural legacy.

The jackets and vests of the four-piece uniform are clad with gold cogs and wheels, an ode to the building lobby’s recently restored 23-carat gold ceiling.

“The new Empire State Building uniform is an impeccable fusion of the building’s iconic past and a futuristic vision. It’s about now,”  Umay said.

“My team and I focused on creating more than just a uniform – rather an unmistakable feel of clothing – that features modern design details to enhance the ESB’s unalterable brand identity, reflecting the true soul of such an archetype. In a most organic alignment between two brands, this feels right. It simply feels magical. For this dream journey, I am grateful.”

The classic, service-cap-shaped hats worn by the Observatory’s employees have been updated with the new light gray colorway, which is called “Empire Steel,” and blue trimmings that are called “City View Blue.”

“The new year brings a new look to the World’s Most Famous Building with a uniform design as unique and timeless as the Empire State Building itself,” Anthony E. Makin, president and CEO of Empire State Realty Trust, said.

“The fresh design is an authentic, new take on the building’s iconic Art Deco flair and works well with the finishes found throughout the Observatory.”

The new uniforms are the final piece of the $165 million redevelopment of the Empire State Building. As part of the multi-year project, the observatory entrance was moved to West 34th Street from Fifth Avenue, a new interactive museum opened on the building’s second floor, the 80th floor was revamped, and the 102nd-floor observatory was redesigned to make the space more visitor-friendly.


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