After an extended pandemic delay and last-minute design changes following the grand unveiling earlier this year, which left many staff less than impressed, British Airways will finally roll out its brand-new uniform for cabin crew and customer-facing staff on September 28, 2023, nearly four years later than originally anticipated.
On the social media platform X, some BA employees announced the information and noted that the first crew to wear the Ozwald Boateng-designed clothing will be cabin crew departing from London on September 28.
However, flight attendants departing London before September 28 will continue to wear the previous uniform on their outbound flights, and it’s thought that a few staff members have yet to receive their new uniforms.
The new BA uniform, which had been in the works for years, was finally commissioned in 2018 by British designer Ozwald Boateng, a former creative director of menswear at Givenchy and Saville Row.
At the time, it was envisioned that Boateng’s artwork would be worn by BA employees the following year, in time for the illustrious airline’s centennial celebrations.
However, a costly and extremely embarrassing pilot strike postponed the launch until early 2020, when the pandemic broke out. The expensive project was quickly shelved, and the airline wasn’t prepared or willing to pick it back up until early this year when the final design was unveiled in January.
The fabric used for the entire final collection is woven with a unique “airwave” pattern that is featured on the uniform.
A striking all-navy jumpsuit, a first for any airline in the world, is also part of the female uniform collection. The jumpsuit isn’t quite ready and won’t likely be introduced until the end of 2023 at the earliest.
The standard three-piece suit for men is navy blue, and a vibrant red necktie serves as an accent.
Boateng expressed hope that the project would allow him to showcase “his skills as a designer” in 2018, but the final rollout was postponed from the early summer to September due to unforeseen changes that had to be made to some garments.
Some of those adjustments were made in response to employee feedback after the collection’s January unveiling, which received a generally mixed reception. The airline has since acknowledged that some employees’ personal preferences may differ from Boateng’s, but employees have been cautioned against making disparaging comments on social media.
British Airways claims that the unfavorable remarks made by a few employees do not reflect the views of all employees, who are ‘impressed’ with the new uniform’s fabric quality.
Photo cover credit: British Airways