British Airways has unveiled a new uniform to take the airline into its next chapter. The collection of garments, created by British fashion designer and tailor Ozwald Boateng OBE, will be worn by more than 30,000 of the airline’s colleagues from spring 2023.
The collection features a tailored three-piece suit for men with regular and slim fit style trousers and dress, skirt and trouser options for women, and modern jumpsuit, an airline first. A tunic and hijab option has also been created for the global carrier. Boateng took great care in designing a truly original collection, taking inspiration from the airline, its people of the art of flying.
The airwave pattern that features across the entire uniform collection including jackets, t-shirts, buttons and ties was inspired by the movement of air over an aircraft wing. The jacquard fabric across all of the tailored garments features a variation of the airline’s iconic speedmarque.
Boateng has been developing the collection since 2018. He shadowed a number of airport roles to understand how the uniform needed to perform for each job and ensure a modern British, stylish look with high quality, resilient fabrics. More than 1,500 colleagues across the airline took part in 50 workshops to help ensure the garments suitability, from design workshops to prototype feedback and garment trials, helping create an iconic collection that will stand the test of time.
To make sure that each garment is fit for purpose, the airline has been putting the uniform to the test over the last six months in secret trials. Cabin and flight crew uniforms have been put through their paces on cargo flights across Europe and engineers have been secretly wearing the new uniforms while maintaining aircraft out of sight in Manchester and Cotswold Airports. Many of the outdoor garments have also been tested in deluge showers and freezers at -18°C to ensure they’re water resistant, durable and fit for extreme weather conditions.
During the trials colleagues gave feedback on the practicability of the garments, resulting in amendments ahead of the rollout. For example, engineers requested easy access tool pockets for when they’re working on aircraft, while ground handlers asked for touch-screen technology fabric in their gloves so they can use their devices in cold climates without having to take them off.
The airline’s engineers and ground operations agents will be first to wear the new uniform from spring 2023. All British Airways’ cabin crew, pilots and check-in agents will have a switch over date from their current uniform to the new one in summer 2023. As they pick up their new items of uniform, they’ll hand in their Julien MacDonald garments, which will be donated to charity or recycled to create toys, tablet holders and more, with some items gifted to the airline’s museum.