Virgin Atlantic announced today they were going to launch a new uniform for the 7,500 staff that wear the Virgin brand, designed by British designer Dame Vivienne Westwood. The collaboration between the two British brands is a long-term partnership which will see a total re-design of the uniform across all areas. With original design and sustainability being vital factors to both Richard Branson and Vivienne Westwood, this project aims to bring these ideals together in an exciting and innovative collaboration.
Richard Branson, President of Virgin Atlantic commented: “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. 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.”
Vivienne Westwood commented: “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. 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.”
The elements we are loving about this the most are the fact sustainable materials (which seem to be the hot-potato of the current aviation industry) are key to the designs. Many items of the new uniform will be produced using recycled materials – in particular working with recycled polyester yarn made from used plastic bottles. The suiting fabrics will also have a nano finish applied which extends the life of garments and enables clothing to retain its colour and finish for longer. Virgin Atlantic is also developing all items with Closed Loop Recycling in mind. This new technology takes worn polyester clothing and turns it back into fibres that can be woven again into new fabrics and in turn new clothing.
Vivienne Westwood has also introduced recycled bags for the ground staff which will be produced for Virgin through the Ethical Africa Programme, in collaboration with the International Trade Centre (ITC). The bags will be created using recycled canvas, reused roadside banners, unused leather off-cuts, and recycled brass, produced in the Kibera slum, Nairobi, where discarded metal like padlocks and car pieces are collected then melted down.
But what about the look, will the new uniform be as cool as the previous 4 incarnations or even cooler? “This is a great brand fit, Vivienne Westwood is the perfect match for Virgin Atlantic, both companies are truly iconic images of Britain.” says Nicholas Oakwell, award winning British uniform designer and TheDesignAir judge. The problem is, we will only find out in a few months time, when the uniform will be tested in certain areas of the business before being rolled out. As soon as we have sneak peek images of the real uniform, we’ll be one of the first to post.
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