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British Airways updates staff uniforms for first time in two decades

Fashion designer Ozwald Boateng has created a new uniform line for British Airways’ staff. After 20 years of sporting the same look, its 30,000 employees – especially female staff – will have more freedom regarding what they wear at work.

For far too long, most airline stewardesses’ have had to choose being wearing a skirt and heels or… well… a skirt and heels while on the clock.

But in recent years, global carriers have woken up to the changes taking place in modern society and within the fashion industry itself. As a result, many have begun to broaden workwear options for their cabin crew.

After 20 years of having an unchanging staff uniform, the UK’s most iconic airline ­–­ British Airways ­­– has joined in to make a change. New additions to the workwear line include a tunic, hijab, trousers, and jumpsuit for its female cabin crew.

All previous items have gotten an upgraded look, too. Ozwald Boateng, a British fashion designer, is the brain behind the new and improved designs which are expected to be fully rolled out this summer.

According to a statement by BA, the uniforms are ‘mostly made from sustainable fabrics’ such as recycled polyester and cotton. These materials have reportedly been sourced from manufacturers linked to the Better Cotton initiative.


It’s worth noting that although BA’s workwear options have been expanded for the company’s female staff, male employees will still be expected to wear a tailored three-piece suit with slim or regular fit trousers.

There is also no mention of an updated shoe for women, so it looks like BA stewardesses will continue to be required to wear heels for the time being.

This is in contrast to a major decision made by its competitor, Virgin Atlantic, which rolled out entirely gender-neutral uniforms for its staff last year. It also falls short of SkyUp, which has allowed their staff to wear comfortable trainers during flight.

For British Airways, making the new uniform line happen has not been a smooth journey.

The idea of updating staff workwear was first pitched in 2018, but has taken a total of five years to come to fruition due to financial difficulties experienced throughout by the pandemic.

Diminished BA flight services forced the airline to let go of thousands of staff members, while also putting a cost delay in the production of the updated outfit design.

According to statements by the company, all old staff uniforms are reportedly being donated to charity, recycled or displayed in the airline’s museum. This is a positive step forward that we could see improve further in years to come, not just in the airline space but in other industries too.