Air New Zealand will next month invite local designers to submit proposals for a new uniform for 4500 cabin crew and airport staff that could possibly be unisex.
The new uniform will replace the Trelise Cooper-designed garments although she will be in the running with other designers.
At the airline's annual meeting yesterday, chief executive Christopher Luxon said the current uniform had been the most popular in the airline's 78-year history.
Air New Zealand general manager global brand and content marketing, Jodi Williams, said today the airline's customer-facing uniforms were among the most recognisable in aviation.
"We see this as an exciting opportunity to take a step back and really consider where our business is heading and what our uniform might look like in the future,'' she said.
''For example, will exclusively male or female uniforms always be relevant?''
Williams said the airline was doing significant research with its staff along with a leading global cultural insights agency, which reflected that fact that the airline operates to 55 destinations around the world.
Air New Zealand will be contacting designers directly in early October to invite them to take part in the submission process.
Along with submitting designs they will be required to meet other criteria such as sustainable sourcing credentials and a proven track record in the New Zealand fashion industry.
The successful design would "capture the New Zealand spirit and Air New Zealand brand and be something our people feel proud to wear".
At the same time the uniform will need to be practical and meet the needs of thousands of individuals working in diverse roles and environments all over the world. said Williams.
The hot pink, lime green and aqua blue outfits were designed by Trelise Cooper.
He told shareholders at the company's annual meeting today that they had been "loved" by staff but it was time for a refresh.
The Trelise Cooper outfits were unveiled in 2010 and didn't meet universal approval with critics saying they make the cabin crew look like drag queens and appear to have been inspired by Barbie's flock wallpaper.
Luxon said it took about two years to develop a uniform and the airline was looking to start replacing its eight Boeing 777-200s in 2022.
Previous uniforms had been Christian Dior, Nina Ricci, Thornton Hall, Barbara Lee and Zambesi-designed.
The uniforms expected to roll out in 2021, will precede the arrival of the airline's new long-haul aircraft fleet and new onboard product around 2023.
Secret development work was under way on a premium cabin for the new long-range jets, and cabin products and uniforms would be part of the new look.
The airline will move closer to a decision on the new planes later this year also. New generation Boeing 777s and Airbus A350s are in the running for the airline which aims to fly new ultra long haul routes to the east coast of North and South America.