Flying in style: British Airways’ new staff uniforms by Ozwald Boateng take flight globally

by James Wilkinson

Customers travelling with British Airways will now see its customer-facing colleagues including cabin crew, pilots and airport teams wearing the airline’s new iconic uniform collection across the globe.

The airline gave the first glimpse of its new uniform in January, with operational ground colleagues beginning to wear their new uniforms in May.

The collection has been designed by British-Ghanaian fashion designer and master tailor, Ozwald Boateng OBE, with the help of more than 1,500 colleagues from across the business who were involved in the end-to-end process, including design workshops, prototype feedback and wearer trials.

Combining style with functionality, 96 individual garments feature in Boateng’s collection; the largest choice of garments the airline has ever offered its people. The female wardrobe for cabin crew and airport colleagues offers the option of a dress, skirt, trouser suit, or in an airline first, a stylish jumpsuit.

A sleek three-piece tailored suit with the option of slim or regular fit trousers is available as part of the male wardrobe.

A staggering 850,000 uniform items have been manufactured for the airline’s more than 30,000 colleagues, with British Airways disclosing that most popular garments ordered are the dress and trench coat. When it comes to blouses and shirts, the short sleeve option has proved more popular than long sleeved shirts.

British Airways’ Chief Customer Officer, Calum Laming, said “We’re really excited to start the final phase of the rollout of our brand-new uniform for more than 30,000 colleagues.

“The stylish and modern collection offers our colleagues more choice than ever to help them display more of their original personalities at work. Our people have always been at the forefront of our brand, so this launch celebrates them and the work they do to look after our customers.”

The airline’s uniform features bespoke fabrics and patterns that weave throughout the entire collection. The suits, a fundamental element of the customer-facing uniform, are made with a jacquard fabric that features a subtle nod to the airline’s heritage with a pattern indicative of the airline’s iconic speedmarque. Elsewhere, the scarves and ties feature an airwave design inspired by air moving over the wing of an aircraft, creating a signature feature of the uniform.

Sustainability has played an important role in the development of British Airways’ new uniform, as well as in plans to repurpose its current uniform as part of its BA Better World commitments.

More than 90% of the garments are produced using sustainable fabric from blends of recycled polyester, and the new uniform’s cotton has been sourced through the ‘Better Cotton Initiative’. This is the world’s leading sustainability initiative for cotton, with a mission to help cotton communities survive and thrive, while helping to protect and restore the environment.

The airline’s uniform repurposing includes donating shirt fabrics to schools in Bangladesh and giving unworn garments to schools and homeless charities in Hounslow, near to the airline’s home at London Heathrow Terminal 5.

The airline is also partnering with various businesses to upcycle the Julien Macdonald garments into items like teddy bears, passport holders and bags for customers to purchase. The airline is also exploring various ways to repurpose its other garments, with more details to be revealed later this year.

To help make the airline’s colleagues feel their best in their new uniforms, ‘Treat Yourself’ bars have been set-up at airports. The airline has partnered with British brands, ELEMIS and GHD, to offer colleagues a range of refreshing products to pamper themselves and the option to style their hair at these bars, ahead of their shifts.

Make-up artists and hair stylists are on hand to help with express touch ups, so colleagues can look and feel fabulous in their brand-new uniform. Experts are also at the ready to offer skincare advice for those who prefer the natural look.