British Airways unveils brand new uniforms for the first time in nearly 20 years by designer Ozwald Boateng – and the range includes an ‘airline first’ jumpsuit for female cabin crew
- British Airways crew have been putting the uniforms to the test in secret trials over the past few months
- The pattern that features across the collection was inspired by the movement of air over an aircraft wing
- All cabin crew, pilots and check-in agents will switch from their current uniform to the new one this summer
British Airways has unveiled a new uniform for the first time in nearly 20 years, with the collection of garments set to ‘take the airline into its next chapter‘.
Over the last few months, the airline’s crew has been putting the uniform to the test in secret trials in the skies and on the ground.
Designed by the British fashion designer and tailor Ozwald Boateng OBE, the uniform, launching in spring, features a ‘modern jumpsuit’ for female cabin crew that is billed as an ‘airline first’.
The collection also features dress, skirt and trouser options for women and a tailored three-piece suit for men with regular and slim-fit style trousers. A tunic and hijab option has also been created for the carrier.
British Airways has unveiled a new uniform for the first time in nearly 20 years, with the collection of garments set to ‘take the airline into its next chapter‘
British Airways says that Boateng took great care in ‘designing a truly original collection, taking inspiration from the airline, its people of the art of flying’.
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.
Boateng has been developing the collection since 2018 with ‘painstaking care’, the airline reveals. It says that he shadowed a number of airport roles to understand how the uniform needed to perform for each job and ensure a ‘modern British, stylish look’ with high quality, resilient fabrics that are easy to care for.
More than 1,500 crew across the airline took part in 50 workshops to help ensure the garments’ suitability, from design workshops to prototype feedback and garment trials. British Airways says that these workshops have helped to ‘create an iconic collection that will stand the test of time’.
In the secret trials, the cabin and flight crew uniforms were 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 Airports.
There are dress, skirt and trouser options for women, as well as a ‘modern’ jumpsuit that’s billed as an airline first
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
To make sure that each garment is fit for purpose, the airline put the uniform to the test over the last six months in secret trials
Many of the outdoor garments were also tested in deluge showers and freezers at minus 18 degrees Celsius to ensure they’re water-resistant, durable and fit for extreme weather conditions.
During the trials, the crew gave feedback on the practicability of the garments, leading to alterations ahead of the uniform rollout.
For instance, British Airways says that 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.
Sustainability and quality have been front and centre throughout the uniform design process, the airline reveals, adding that more than 90 per cent of the garments are produced using sustainable fabric from blends of recycled polyester.
As part of British Airways’ BA Better World commitment to work with sustainable suppliers, the airline is only working with manufacturers that are members of the ‘Better Cotton’ initiative, the world’s leading sustainability initiative for cotton, whose mission is to help cotton communities survive and thrive, while protecting and restoring the environment.
The airline’s engineers and ground operations agents will be the first to wear the new uniform from springtime. All British Airways’ cabin crew, pilots and check-in agents will have a switchover date from their current uniform to the new one in summer 2023.
Savile Row tailor Ozwald Boateng (pictured) was commissioned to design the new BA uniforms
Many of the outdoor garments have also been tested in deluge showers and freezers at minus 18 degrees Celsius to ensure they’re water-resistant, durable and fit for extreme weather conditions. The airline’s engineers and ground operations agents will be the first to wear the new uniform from springtime
The previous British Airways uniform (above) was designed by Julien MacDonald
As they pick up their new items of uniform, they’ll hand in their previous 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.
Emma Carey, British Airways’ cabin crew, who was one of the colleagues who carried out secret trials of the uniform, said: ‘It’s been a real honour and responsibility to help test the new uniform and put it through its paces at 35,000ft to make sure it’s fit for purpose, with thousands of my colleagues counting on me. It was great to see that adjustments were made after our feedback. The pockets on the apron, for example, were widened after the trial so we had more room for everything we need during meal services on board. I can’t wait for our customers to see the new collection.’
Boateng said: ‘Designing this uniform was a vast and painstaking undertaking and it went far beyond clothes. It was about creating an energetic shift internally. 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.’
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.’
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