Business partner: Orbis and Lands' End

The blindness charity's flying medics get a uniform new look

Orbis staff in new uniforms
Orbis staff in new uniforms

On the surface, the partnership between the blindness prevention charity Orbis and the clothing manufacturer Lands' End is all about a uniform for the 24 members of the charity's flying eye hospital. But it has a subtext of enlightening up to a million people about Orbis's work.

Orbis began in the US but the initiative to achieve a cohesive look for the flying hospital team - a crew of doctors on a DC-10 jet who work to restore sight to people in developing countries - came from the UK branch of the charity.

Previously, crew members bought their uniforms individually and they all looked slightly different. "I knew that the all-weather Lands' End clothing would be a good fit for us," says Karen Jaques, the charity's corporate fundraising manager.

"But I also thought we would be able to raise awareness about preventable medical blindness through exposure in their catalogue."

The kit - a gift in kind worth £14,000 - was launched on a flying eye hospital trip to Mongolia in September. Photographs and information about Orbis were also included in the Lands' End October catalogue.

"Lands' End has a customer base of about a million, so it was also about putting Orbis's name into that domain," says Jaques.

Tim Curtis, managing director, northern Europe, at Lands' End, says the company's customers will be able to keep in touch with the activities of the flying eye hospital.

"The intention is that as the doctors and crew fly around the world, they will provide blog content for us so our customers can share in their story," he says.

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