When I discovered Cliff Muskiet’s website my sister and I engaged in an hour-long contest over who could find the wackiest stewardess uniform. (Her money was on the oil rich countries. I went for those with names like “Lion Air.” She won.) Cliff has received international attention for his collection, even appearing on television in Germany, the UK, Russia, and here in Canada. And with good reason, his collection currently sits at 820 airline attendant uniforms – all in pristine condition.
Herewith, the “uniform freak” in his own words:
In the beginning…
Ever since my early childhood I have been fascinated by civil aviation. The first flight I made (and that I can remember) was from New York to Amsterdam in 1970. I was five years old. I slept during the whole flight and when we arrived in Amsterdam, I was so disappointed because I couldn’t remember anything about the flight. I began to draw airplanes and I started to cut airplane pictures out of travel magazines. Every month I would go to Amsterdam and visit the airline offices and I would come home with bags filled with postcards, posters, and folders about the airlines and airplanes. I also cleaned airplanes in the summertime at Schiphol Amsterdam Airport when I was 15, 16, 17, and 18 years old.
My unique collection began in 1980, when I was given a KLM uniform. It was an old uniform from 1971. My mother was a nurse and she had a colleague who also was a part-time stewardess. At that time I thought, “This is great, I want to have more uniforms!” In 1982 I got two other uniforms from two Dutch charter airlines that changed uniforms that year. From 1982 until 1993 I didn’t do much to obtain more uniforms, something I really regret now because I could have many more. Ten years later, in 1993, I was in Accra in Ghana working for KLM, when I obtained some old Ghana Airways uniforms without any problem. When I received these uniforms, I started to contact other airlines. Most of my 800 uniforms were obtained between 1993 and today.