Cabin crew are known for their pristine uniforms and perfect red lippie, but the girls at Virgin Atlantic have upped the fashion stakes as Dame Vivienne Westwood has redesigned their iconic red uniform. Oh to have to wear Westwood to work.
Before you start imagining the cabin crew in dropped trousers and pirate boots, the uniform is glamorous but practical, referencing 40s couture cuts and Saville Row tailoring. The Westwood suit is still Virgin red with a very feminine silhouette, nipped in at the waist and with double pleats and a dart on the pencil skirt. While the Virgin fellas will wear a three piece Saville Row suit in a rich burgundy wool with details in grey wool under the lapels and pockets. So very British.
Westwood said of the collaboration with the airline: 'My clothes have always got a very strong dynamic rapport with the body- they are very body conscious, they help you to look glamorous, more hourglass, more woman. I design things to help people to hopefully express their personality.'
Richard Branson, President of Virgin Atlantic said of the collaboration: “Virgin Atlantic has a distinct spirit and from a design perspective we continually try to challenge the norm and stand out from the crowd. Our current uniform has been around for more than 10 years and we have seen other airlines start to copy it.'
So why did he pick the fiery haired Brit? 'When we were choosing the designer for this project, we wanted to work with a group of people who share our spirit of adventure, who believe in challenging the status quo and creating something truly memorable,' Branson added.
Remember this is a Vivienne Westwood project so many items will be produced using recycled materials, such as recycled polyester yarn made from used plastic bottles. Viv added: 'I am always trying to find fabrics that are more friendly to the environment - working with Virgin Atlantic they managed to research into this and find more eco fabrics.' They are also developing each piece with Closed Loop Recycling to guarentee maximum sustainability from the suits.
But it's not just those up in the air who get the Westwood treatment, as 7,500 staff including cabin crew, pilots, Clubhouse staff and Virgin Holidays will get to wear the new uniforms. Vivienne has also created recycled bags for the ground staff which will be made through the Ethical Africa Programme. The bags will be created using recycled canvas, reused roadside banners, unused leather off-cuts and recycled brass, produced in the Kibera slum in Nairobi.
So when will we see the new Virgin look in action? Well passengers will get a sneak peek of the new uniforms from July 2013 when cabin crew and ground staff will start testing out their uniform at the airports and on board. This is so that the crew will be able to provide feedback on the design, practicality and wearability so changes can be made ahead of the launch in 2014.