British Airways unveils new uniform designed by Ghanaian Designer Ozwald Boateng

Renowned Savile Row designer and tailor Ozwald Boateng OBE, who hails from both British and Ghanaian heritage, is in the process of designing fresh uniforms to replace British Airways’ (BA) existing ones, which have been in use for nearly two decades.

In the spring of 2023, approximately 30,000 airline employees will switch to the new uniforms, replacing the ones designed by Julien MacDonald.

The collection includes a tailored three-piece suit for men, featuring both regular and slim-fit pants. For women, there are various options, including dresses, skirts, trousers, and even a jumpsuit – a first in the airline industry.

According to Sean Doyle, Chairman and CEO of British Airways, the airline’s uniform is a significant symbol of their brand, representing their dedication to delivering outstanding service with a touch of British style. The goal was to create a uniform collection that instils a sense of pride in employees while embodying the essence of modern Britain and enhancing the overall customer experience.

Boateng drew inspiration from the airline, its staff, and the art of flying when he began designing the collection in 2018. The design incorporates an airwave pattern inspired by the airflow over an airplane wing, and the jacquard fabric includes the airline’s recognizable speedmarque as the finishing touch.

Ozwald Boateng OBE’s BA uniforms

“Designing this uniform was a vast and painstaking undertaking and it went far beyond clothes… One of my main objectives was to create something that spoke to, and for, the airline’s colleagues.” Ozwald Boateng OBE said.

“Although the airline has a strong heritage, it was imperative to support in creating a fresh narrative of change and transcendence, while remaining timeliness.”

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To ensure the clothing’s suitability, over 1,500 colleagues participated in a series of 50 workshops, covering design discussions, prototype assessments, and garment trials, all conducted over the past six months.

Feedback from colleagues during these tests led to adjustments before the final uniforms were rolled out. For instance, ground handlers requested touch-screen fabric for their gloves to operate devices in cold conditions.

Emma Carey, a British Airlines cabin crew member involved in the undercover uniform evaluation, expressed her contentment with the changes made based on their input. She mentioned that after the trial, the apron pockets were enlarged to provide more space for in-flight meal service items.

The central theme of the project was sustainability, with 90% of the clothing being crafted from eco-friendly recycled polyester blends. The airline exclusively collaborates with manufacturers involved in the “Better Cotton” movement.

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