Sky high fashion – first look at Vivienne Westwood designed uniforms
When Virgin Atlantic announced a partnership with Vivienne Westwood earlier this year there was an understandable buzz and a lot of excitement to see what the designer would come up with. Commissioned to redesign the airline’s uniforms across all aspects of its business, Westwood faced some big challenges and with such a strong focus needed on sustainability and original designs, this collaboration promised to deliver uniforms that would be more than worth waiting for.
The first challenge that Westwood and her team faced was the diversity that the uniform had to have. Around 7,500 Virgin Atlantic staff wear the company’s uniform in a wide range of different climates around the world and so the clothing had to stand up to the winters in New York and the summers in St Lucia.
On top of this, it’s estimated that the airline’s crew walk around seven miles on each flight and are constantly tackling a variety of job roles, so it was essential that the shoes were comfortable and the uniform could stand up to a high level of wear and tear. Alongside the practicality of the clothes, Westwood also had to make sure that they lived up to previous uniforms and embodied the sleek, red designs that have been a longstanding Virgin Atlantic icon.
Westwood and her team tackled these challenges head on and have now produced a uniform that will be trialled across 180 specially selected staff in airports, clubhouses and on board the aircraft on the 12th July. The uniforms feature fabrics made of a cutting-edge nano-technology that repels stains and keeps the colour and finish locked in for longer in order to ensure that the clothes retain their shape and continue to look fantastic for longer.
In terms of the sustainability aspect, all of the uniforms are developed with Closed Loop Recycling in mind – a technology that recycles worn polyester clothing into new fibres – in order to create a uniform that not only helps the staff to look great, but enables them to feel great about wearing it as well. All of the shoes have a non-slip sole and – although the male shoes feature laces – can be slipped on and off in order to improve safety and help the crew to pass through security quickly!
The uniforms will be trialled for a few months and will be rated in terms of fit, comfort, breathability, ease of movement, creasing, stain handling and the quality after laundering. Feedback will be provided after each shift and any necessary adjustments will be made before the final launch in 2014.
For us though, the first look of these uniforms has revealed them to be stunning and we have a feeling that they’ll pass with flying colours!
To explore the Virgin Atlantic/Vivienne Westwood uniform collaboration in more depth, visit the Pinterest board here, and then join the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #newredthreads.