Although cabin crew uniforms in the 1950s were associated with fashion and glamour, these days the norm for most airlines is low-profile, practical outfits for staff. In an attempt to bring fashion back to the skies, Banana Republic has teamed up with Virgin America to launch a new functional but fashionable collection that will be seen on the airline's staff starting August 8, in celebration of the fifth anniversary of the airline.
The new 'utility chic' collection is the result of an 18-month collaboration between Virgin America and Banana Republic. The retailer's top designers worked together with the airline's creative team to produce a new set of uniforms for ground and air staff including their pilots.
The main keyword behind the collection's design is functionality, responding to the demands of the jobs: long hours and physical activity. As expressed in a statement by Banana Republic's Creative Director and Executive Vice President, Simon Kneen, "in creating the uniform designs for Virgin America, we wanted to respect the heritage of in-flight uniform design while injecting a modern twist that's both functional and fashionable."
The fabrics, which include spandex blends, were chosen to be wrinkle-free yet comfortable to wear and easy to move in. The line for men includes leather jackets, lined mac coats, striped sleeve sweaters, woven shirts and pants. For women, there's a classic pencil skirt, a slim dress, trousers, a leather jacket and a trench to start, paired with luxe silk print scarves, slim plaque belts and Virgin America-branded serving aprons for in-flight meal service.
The new collection also includes items that consumers and passengers can buy like aviator sunglasses, a women's tote and a men's messenger bag, and men's and women's trench coats. These products will be available for sale exclusively to flyers on Virgin America's Red in-flight entertainment system shop platform and in Banana Republic stores. The retail line, priced from $78-$250, will also go on sale on August 8.
Other airlines have previously worked together with fashion brands in an attempt to restore some of the glory of the Golden Age of air travel: Giorgio Armani designed a line for Alitalia in 1991, Nina Ricci designed for Cathay Pacific back in the 1990s and Christian Lacroix designed uniforms for Air France in 2005.