British Airways launches new uniform with hijab option

Designed by Ozwald Boateng, updated attire said to promote modernity and sustainability

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British Airways has begun distributing its new uniform, designed by Savile Row fashion designer and tailor Ozwald Boateng, to employees.

The BA uniform has undergone its first major revamp in nearly 20 years.

The collection includes tailored three-piece suits for men and several options for women, including the introduction of a modern jumpsuit – a first for the airline.

There is also a tunic and hijab option.

BA engineers and ground staff will be the first to don the uniforms, after which cabin crew, pilots and check-in agents will follow suit.

Engineers and ground handlers had requested enhancements such as easy-to-access tool pockets and touchscreen technology fabric in gloves, leading to a number of design revisions.

Maintaining the traditional BA colours, the refreshed collection features a blend of navy blue and red. The men's tailored three-piece suits, as well as the women's dress, skirt, trousers and modern jumpsuit, all carry this colour scheme.

BA said the pattern was inspired by the movement of air over a plane’s wing, while the hijab was designed for comfort and convenience while respecting cultural and religious sentiments.

As staff start to wear the new uniform, they will return their Julien MacDonald garments, which will be donated to charity or recycled to create items such as toys and tablet holders. Some pieces will be added to the airline’s museum collection.

BA ground handlers will be among the first to wear the newly designed uniforms. Photo: British Airways

British-Ghanaian Boateng, renowned for his innovative designs, spent time shadowing airline employees to understand their requirements.

“Designing this uniform went far beyond clothes,” he said. "It was about creating an energetic shift internally."

More than 1,500 BA staff engaged in the four-year development process, taking part in secret trials.

Sean Doyle, BA chairman and chief executive, stressed that the new design was created to reflect modern Britain and represent a service that their people are proud to wear. He said: “Our uniform is an iconic representation of our brand, something that will carry us into our future.”

Emma Carey, a BA cabin crew member, said: “It was great to see that adjustments were made after our feedback. I can't wait for our customers to see the new collection.”

The new attire has largely been crafted from sustainable fabric, including recycled polyester.

As part of the airline's BA Better World commitment, only manufacturers belonging to the Better Cotton initiative, a sustainability enterprise, were engaged.

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