Airline Virgin Atlantic has announced that top British designer Vivienne Westwood will redesign its famous red uniform.
The collaboration between the two British brands will see a collection that, while maintaining the glamour and style that the crew are renowned for, fuses original design and sustainability – two important factors for both Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin, and Vivienne.
"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 womanly," said Vivienne.
"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."
Vivienne wanted to create a futuristic look that references her interest in French couture cutting techniques from the 1940s as well as more classic Savile Row tailoring. The uniforms are made using recycled materials including polyester yarn that originated from plastic bottles as well as canvas created from reused roadside banners and leather off-cuts.
More than 7,500 staff including cabin crew, pilots, Clubhouse staff and Virgin Holidays employees will receive the new uniforms from the iconic designer and employees were consulted during the design process.
Passengers will receive a sneak peek of the new uniforms from July 2013 when cabin crew and ground staff trial the uniform at the airports and on board. Crew will provide feedback on the design, practicality and wearability so tweaks can be made ahead of the full launch in 2014.
"Virgin Atlantic has a distinct spirit and from a design perspective we continually try to challenge the norm and stand out from the crowd," said Richard.
"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."
Richard and Vivienne met through her ex-husband Malcolm McLaren, who Richard knew from signing the Sex Pistols to his record label.