Photos: Virgin Atlantic's new uniforms by Vivienne Westwood

By David Flynn, July 12 2013
Photos: Virgin Atlantic's new uniforms by Vivienne Westwood

Virgin Atlantic has revealed the newest take on its iconic red threads, courtesy of British fashion doyenne Dame Vivienne Westwood.

The new uniform for Sir Richard Branson's airline brings a modern 'Cool Britannia' look to the safe territory of sharp silhouettes and dapper detailing.

The female flight attendant uniforms are built on a foundation of 1940s couture cuts, with a feminine silhouette nipped in at the waist and a pencil skirt to mix go-to glamour with everyday practicality.

One of the modern twists is the white jacquard 'Frill Blouse' design first seen in Westwood's Red Label Spring-Summer 2005/06 collection.

Branson's blokes will be decked out in three-piece Saville Row-style suit in rich burgundy wool...

... with the waistcoat, jacket lapels and pocket detailing in grey.

There's also sharp new kit for pilots.

Staff at Virgin Atlantic's Clubhouse lounges get their own take on the new threads.

The men’s Clubhouse uniform is built around a Victorian-inspired waistcoat, also a familiar item from many Westwood collections.

The fake bow tie detail shirt adds some playfulness, along with the black jeans and leather sneakers for a contemporary look.

The female clubhouse collection includes a ladies' version of the waistcoat and is also paired with dark jeans and leather sneakers.

Just how casual can you get? Try this loose black tunic designed to be matched with black jeans and ballerina shoes!

There's even a 'Salon Blouse' for the Clubhouse's Bumble & bumble hair salon.

The new Virgin Atlantic uniforms use nanotechnology to repel stains and help the clothes retain their colour and finish longer, and continue the 'glamour of flying' theme championed by many premium airlines and first seen in Westwood's initial concept sketches.

"My clothes have always got a very strong dynamic rapport with the body" said Westwood, seen below wearing something that is not the new Virgin Atlantic uniform. "They are very body conscious, they help you to look glamorous, more hourglass, more woman."

The new uniforms will worn by 180 selected staff from today at airports, in Clubhouse lounges and on board the aircraft as part of a real-world trial to ensure the threads are comfortable and practical before the designs and fabrics are finalised and sent to the manufacturer ahead of their official 2014 rollout.

"These wearer trials are a key part of the feedback process we engage in with our teams around with world" said Luke Miles, Head of Design for Virgin Atlantic.

"The uniforms have to look sleek, all the while being practical and easy to wear - it's a challenging design brief but means so much to our staff and customers so we have to make sure we get it right."

This will be Virgin Atlantic's fourth uniform in the 30 years since Sir Richard Branson launched the airline in 1984.

Six fast fashion facts about the new Virgin Atlantic uniform

  • Crew walk an average of seven miles on each flight, so it's important that shoes are comfortable
  • All shoes must have a non-slip sole and be SATRA (Shoe and Allied Trade Research Association) tested and approved
  • Although male shoes have laces, they're designed to be slipped off in case of a slide evacuation (it also makes it much easier for the crew to go through airport security).
  • All ties and scarfs must be quick release for health and safety reasons
  • Many items of the new uniform will be produced using recycled materials, such as recycled polyester yarn made from used plastic bottles
  • According to Virgin Atlantic, crew must go through a five and a half week training course before donning their Vivienne Westwood-designed wings and uniform

More airline uniform articles from Australian Business Traveller

Based on traditional Fijian attire, the new Fiji Airways uniforms incorporate 'masi' brandmarks already seen the new Airbus A330s of the airline formerly known as Air Pacific, and mix rich chocolate and vibrant aqua colours. Read more...


Australian-born and Paris-based designer Martin Grant has ditched the Aboriginal prints of the current Qantas uniform in favour of a stylish, contemporary wardrobe based on a dusky French navy, incorporating elements of 'Qantas red' with the odd playful fuchsia pink highlight. Read more...


China Eastern Airlines has unveilled a stylish new uniform designed by none other than fashion superbrand Christian Lacroix. The bywords are "simple, beautiful and dignified", says China Eastern, with the new look showcasing cosmopolitan "Shanghai-style fashion", although the crisp European lines and Parisian influences and unmistakeable. Read more...


Garuda Indonesia is set to re-enter the first class market with a new Boeing 777-300ER, and it’s got new uniforms to match. We snapped these first photos of the new kit on mannequins at Garuda’s headquarters in Jakarta, with the classy threads inspired by traditional Javanese dress with high-cut collars. Read more...


Not to be left behind, United Airlines channels the classic '1980s banking look' for its new uniforms, opting for a safe but bland corporate look with shades of blue, gray and black, deliberately playing off the palette of United and Continental following their merger in 2010. Read more...

Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Jun 2013

Total posts 28

The female FA colour scheme sure stands out. Not sure about the excessive of material or the white innards though. Mens' FA look fantastic!

Hi Guest, join in the discussion on Photos: Virgin Atlantic's new uniforms by Vivienne Westwood