In a major revamp after almost two decades, British Airways (BA) has introduced its new employee uniforms, thoughtfully designed by the eminent Savile Row fashion designer and tailor, Ozwald Boateng. The novel uniforms mark a significant milestone in the airline’s history by including a hijab option for the first time, reflecting its commitment to inclusivity.
The updated collection, exuding elegance, and practicality, comprises tailored three-piece suits for men and a variety of choices for women. Notably, a modern jumpsuit makes its debut in the array of options for women, along with a tunic and a hijab, embodying the diversity and dynamism of BA’s staff.
This transformational change will initially be seen in the engineers and ground staff who will lead the way, followed by cabin crew, pilots, and check-in agents. Recognizing the specific needs of these employees, the redesigned uniforms include features such as easy-to-access tool pockets and touchscreen-friendly fabric in gloves. These updates emerged from numerous design revisions to ensure the new attire suits the staff’s daily operational requirements.
Honoring BA’s tradition, the new uniforms continue the iconic navy blue and red color scheme. This color blend is seen in the men’s three-piece suits, and the women’s dress, skirt, trousers, and modern jumpsuit. The refreshed uniform design draws inspiration from the fluid motion of air over a plane’s wing, resulting in a dynamic and contemporary aesthetic.
The hijab, a new and significant addition to the collection, is designed for comfort, practicality, and respect for cultural and religious sentiments. This inclusion represents BA’s commitment to celebrating diversity and enhancing inclusivity within its workforce.
Ozwald Boateng, known for his groundbreaking designs, dedicated substantial time to understanding the staff’s needs, a crucial step in ensuring the new uniforms were fit for purpose. In Boateng’s words, the design process “went far beyond clothes” and aimed to create an “energetic shift internally”.
More than 1,500 BA employees participated in the development process over four years, taking part in confidential trials and providing invaluable feedback. The airline emphasized that the employees’ insights were pivotal in refining the uniforms, making them fit for purpose.
Sean Doyle, BA chairman, and chief executive, stated that the new uniform, crafted to reflect modern Britain, is “an iconic representation of our brand” and symbolizes a uniform that their staff is proud to wear. It is designed to “carry us into our future”, he added.
The launch of the new uniforms aligns with BA’s sustainability commitments, including its BA Better World initiative. The uniforms have been primarily made from sustainable fabric, including recycled polyester. Additionally, only manufacturers affiliated with the Better Cotton Initiative, a sustainability project, were employed to produce the uniforms.
As employees transition into the new uniforms, their previous Julien MacDonald uniforms will be donated to charity or recycled into items like toys and tablet holders. A selection of these pieces will also be added to the airline’s museum collection, marking this historic change in the company’s visual identity.
This thoughtful redesign, featuring sustainable materials and inclusive options, indicates British Airways’ commitment to its staff’s comfort and well-being, and their dedication to diversity, inclusivity, and environmental responsibility.
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