Vivienne Westwood Is Designing Sustainable Uniforms for Virgin Atlantic

There's been a lot of talk over the past few weeks about Vivienne Westwood's role in the punk style movement, thanks to the Met's upcoming Punk: Chaos to Couture exhibit. Today, though, we have news of a decidedly more commercial Westwood project: She just designed the new uniforms for Virgin Atlantic.
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There's been a lot of talk over the past few weeks about Vivienne Westwood's role in the punk style movement, thanks to the Met's upcoming Punk: Chaos to Couture exhibit. Today, though, we have news of a decidedly more commercial Westwood project: She just designed the new uniforms for Virgin Atlantic.
Photo: Gemma Day/Virgin Atlantic

Photo: Gemma Day/Virgin Atlantic

There's been a lot of talk over the past few weeks about Vivienne Westwood's role in the punk style movement, thanks to the Met's upcoming Punk: Chaos to Couture exhibit. Today, though, we have news of a decidedly more commercial Westwood project: She just designed the new uniforms for Virgin Atlantic.

This is the fourth uniform upgrade the airline's had in the 30 years since its inception. According to Richard Branson, the owner and founder of Virgin Atlantic (see video below), it's been 13 years since the airline has debuted a new look. (Virgin America unveiled uniforms designed by Banana Republic last year.) The goal of the airline has always been to "bring glamour to airline travel," and what's more glamorous than your crew serving gin and tonics in Vivienne Westwood creations?

Westwood designed the uniforms--in the airline's signature red--using some of her own fave design elements (and no, sadly not her punk pieces) like a 40s-esque nipped in waist and "Savile Row touches," according to a release.

“My clothes have always got a very strong dynamic rapport with the body--they are very body conscious, they help you to look glamorous, more hourglass, more woman," Westwood said. "I design things to help people to hopefully express their personality." The men's uniforms are a snazzy burgundy. And since Westwood is passionate to the point of fanatical about environmental issues lately, there's an eco component, too.

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The uniforms will be made with some sustainable fabrics, like polyester made from recycled bottles. Bags for the ground staff will be fabricated from recycled brass and canvas, discarded leather pieces, and old roadside banners through the Ethical Africa Program, and they'll be produced in the Kibera slum in Nairobi.

The uniforms will debut for a trial period in July of this year, and design tweaks will be made as needed based on crew feedback. After that, expect to see 7,500 Virgin Atlantic crew members tricked out in Westwood.

We like this trend of designer airline uniforms. Maybe passengers will pick up on it and start elevating their own travel wardrobes just a wee little bit.