Qantas to suit up with new uniforms designed by Martin Grant

By David Flynn, May 31 2012
Qantas to suit up with new uniforms designed by Martin Grant

Qantas has named Melbourne-born designer Martin Grant as the man to create new-look uniforms for the airline's cabin crew and ground staff.

Grant, seen here flanked by Qantas cabin crew decked out in uniforms spanning the decades, will craft what Qantas CEO Alan Joyce says will be "a new, distinctly Australian look designed for Qantas’ customer service employees", with a "fresh and contemporary style."

The new uniforms will debut in 2014, following a process which begins with Grant working the Qantas uniform panel (a team of uniformed employees across the business) to provide feedback on elements such as wear and comfort) and collaborating with Qantas employees to evolve concepts and designs.

The current Qantas uniforms (above and below) were introduced in 2003 and created by Australian fashion designer Peter Morrissey, and underwent a refresh in 2008.

Those are a long way from this groovy look of the mid-70s through to the mid-80s:

(After all, nothing says 'premium airline' like an orange jacket with a mustard-yellow shirt and stripey brown tie.)

Today's frequent flyers may be more likely to recall trips with Qantas staff decked out in these blue (and rather British-looking) uniforms of 1985-93...

... and will certainly be familiar with the duskier navy tones through to 2003.

Here's what hosties were wearing in the early '70s – back in those days when we could call them hosties.

All those uniforms plus a red mini from the late 60s come together in this shot of Qantas uniforms from past to present.

Click here for a slideshow of Qantas uniforms from 1948 to today – and if you're really into the in-flight fashion, visit the very detailed if oddly unsettling (and thus, perhaps appropriately-named) UniformFreak site featuring "1,142 different stewardess uniforms from 433 airlines."

By way of comparison, Virgin Australia's 2011 uniform plays up the airline’s palette of red, silver and purple while keeping a dash of that old-world glam, from the days when flying was a treat instead of just another trip.

Check out our photo gallery of the Virgin Australia uniforms.

For the very latest news and reviews, 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.

01 Feb 2012

Total posts 370

this is one area where virgin is head and shoulders better 


04 Nov 2010

Total posts 671

Virgin looks great but they have some advantages over Qantas. They've got more colours to play with, like purple, and they were pretty much re-invented from scratch when they became Virgin Australia so that gave them license to really jazz things up. Plus of course Virgin's new uniform is really new, was only done in 2011, as this article says Qantas is still using a 2003 design 'refreshed' in 2008. This is their chance to really pull ahead now, but I think they will still err on the side of being a bit conservative whereas Virgin pretty much has a license to be fresh and flashy.

01 Feb 2012

Total posts 370

I don't think Qantas was really that restricted in terms of colours, etc. The current uniform has no Qantas Red in it, nor does it bear much resemblence in other uniforms in its past...

Designers seem to focus too much on making it distinctive and Australian, but imho its more important for the stewardess to look stylish and not daggy, and that's where Virgin are ahead. Uniforms are not like new laptops - where you update for better specs etc :) The qantas designs were ugly and unflattering to a woman's shape when they were first designed!

If you saw a Virgin Australia stewardess in uniform at a bar you wouldn't think she was out of place, whereas a Qantas stewardess, you'd think - why is she wearing that!?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

05 Apr 2012

Total posts 57

Love the suits Dislike the clingy shiny material of the dresses Spinoza...dont know if I agree sorry :)

03 Jan 2011

Total posts 667

I dunno Smithy, that clingy shiny material that Qantas uses isn't much better. In fact, the clingy shiny stuff all round? Probably a bad idea, airlines. It might look great on the runway, but after a delayed sixteen-hour trans-Pacific flight, it's not going to look good on anyone.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

03 Jul 2011

Total posts 186

I wonder if the QF staff will be asked what they want in a uniform before it gets put into production?

26 May 2011

Total posts 19

I thought they were going to actually reveal the uniforms - it will take another 6-12 months at this rate to actually see it. Announcing the designer surely isn't that important, people just want to see the end result

Hi Guest, join in the discussion on Qantas to suit up with new uniforms designed by Martin Grant