British Airways has revealed its new uniform to be worn by its 30,000 employees from spring 2023.
The uniform, designed by Savile Row tailor and designer Ozwald Boateng OBE, underwent ‘secret’ trials by some of its employees to establish whether the garments were suitable for a variety of roles in the air and on the ground.
It is the first time the airline has launched a new uniform in nearly 20 years, and follows BA’s decision last November to allow male employees to wear makeup, nail polish, ‘man buns’, and have piercings.
The cabin crew uniform features a tailored three-piece suit for men with regular and slim-fit style trousers, while women have the option of wearing a dress, skirt or trousers. There is also a jumpsuit option available, which BA said was an “airline first”, as well as a tunic and hijab.
Boateng has been developing British Airways’ new uniform since 2018, shadowing a number of BA employees in different roles to see what they needed from the uniform.
He settled on a modern, stylish design with sustainable materials that are easy to care for; 90% of the garments are made using blends of recycled polyester.
Secret trials by BA employees have taken place over the past six months, with cabin crew uniforms being tested on cargo flights over Europe, and engineer garments being worn while maintaining aircraft in Manchester and Cotswold airports.
Outdoor clothing was tested in extreme wet and cold conditions to ensure it was water-resistant and durable.
Employees were able to give feedback on the practicability of the uniforms, which has resulted in some amendments. For example, engineers requested easy access tool pockets, while ground handlers asked for gloves with fabric that allowed them to continue to use touch-screen devices, and cabin crew apron pockets were widened to ensure they had room for everything they needed for meal services.
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.”
Engineers and ground operatives will receive the new uniform in the spring, while cabin crew, pilots, and check-in agents will switch over in the summer. Their old uniforms will be donated to charity or recycled.
Rival airline Virgin Atlantic also launched a new uniform policy last year, allowing employees to choose which garments to wear, regardless of their gender identity.
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