British Airways has unveiled a collection of new uniforms.
The collection features a tailored three-piece
suit for men with regular and slim fit style trousers, while women
are offered dress, skirt and trouser options. A tunic and hijab
option has also been created, as has perhaps the most surprising
option – a jumpsuit for women, an airline first.
Created by British fashion designer and tailor
Ozwald Boateng OBE, the uniforms will be worn by the airline’s 30,000+
employees from spring 2023.
British Airways’ new uniforms were created by fashion designer and tailor Ozwald Boateng OBE
Sean Doyle, British Airways’ Chairman and CEO,
said, “Our uniform is an iconic representation of our brand,
something that will carry us into our future, representing the
very best of modern Britain and helping us deliver a great British
original service for our customers. From the very start this has
been about our people. We wanted to create a uniform collection
that our people are proud to wear and with the help of over 1,500
colleagues, we are confident that we have delivered this.”
Boateng has been developing the collection since
2018 and even shadowed a number of airport roles
to understand how the uniform needed to perform for each job.
More than 1,500 employees across the airline took
part in 50 workshops to help ensure the garments suitability, from
design workshops to prototype feedback and garment trials.
The airwave pattern that features
across the entire uniform collection – including jackets, t-shirts,
buttons and ties – was inspired by the movement of air over an
aircraft wing, while the jacquard fabric across all of the tailored
garments features a variation of the airline’s iconic speedmarque.
More than 90% of the garments are being produced
using sustainable fabric from blends of recycled polyester. The
airline is also only working with manufacturers that are members
of the ‘Better Cotton’ initiative, a leading sustainability
initiative for cotton, whose mission is to help cotton communities
survive and thrive, while protecting and restoring the
To make sure that each garment is fit for purpose,
the airline has put the uniform to the test over the last
six months in secret trials. Cabin and flight crew uniforms have
been put through their paces on cargo flights across Europe while
engineers have been secretly wearing the new uniforms while
maintaining aircraft out of sight in Manchester and Cotswold
Many of the outdoor garments have also been tested in
deluge showers and freezers at -18 degrees Celsius to ensure
they’re water resistant, durable and fit for extreme weather
conditions, like some of those seen recently.
During the trials staff gave feedback on the
practicability of the garments, resulting in amendments ahead of
the rollout. For example, engineers requested easy access tool
pockets for when they’re working on aircraft, while ground
handlers asked for touch-screen technology fabric in their gloves
so they can use their devices in cold climates without having to
take them off. Cabin crew requested for the pockets on the apron
to be widened so they had more room for everything needed during
meal services on board.
“Designing this uniform
was a vast and painstaking undertaking and it went far beyond
clothes. It was about creating an energetic shift internally,”
said Ozwald Boateng OBE. “One
of my main objectives was to create something that spoke to, and
for, the airline’s colleagues. Something that inspired and
empowered them, encouraged them to conduct their roles with pride
and most importantly to ensure that they felt seen and heard.
Although the airline has a strong heritage, it was imperative to
support in creating a fresh narrative of change and transcendence,
while remaining timeliness.”
The airline’s engineers and ground operations
agents will be first to wear the new uniform from spring 2023. All
British Airways’ cabin crew, pilots and check-in agents will have
a switch over date from their current uniform to the new one in
As they pick up their new items of uniform, they’ll
hand in their Julien MacDonald garments, which will be donated to
charity or recycled to create toys, tablet holders and more, with
a number of items gifted to the airline’s museum.
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