Africa Leaders Magazine

OZWALD BOATENG – Ghanaian – British Designer of Newly Unveiled British Airways Uniforms

OZWALD BOATENG – Ghanaian - British Designer of Newly Unveiled British Airways Uniforms - African Leaders Magazine

British Airways has unveiled its first new uniform in nearly 20 years, created by Ghanaian – British tailor and designer Ozwald Boateng, which will be worn by more than 30,000 of the airline’s employees from spring 2023, replacing its current uniform designed by Julien MacDonald.

The collection features a tailored three-piece suit for men with regular and slim fit style trousers and dress, skirt and trouser options for women, as well as a “modern” jumpsuit, a first for the airline first. In addition, the British Airways uniform also includes a tunic and hijab options.

OZWALD BOATENG – Ghanaian - British Designer of Newly Unveiled British Airways Uniforms - African Leaders Magazine

The uniforms also feature an “airwave” pattern created by Boateng across jackets, T-shirts, buttons and ties inspired by the movement of air over an aircraft wing. The jacquard fabric across all the tailored garments also features a variation of the airline’s iconic speedmarque.

British Airways announced it was partnering with Boateng in 2018 to create uniforms as part of the airline’s centenary celebrations, and since then, the designer has shadowed several airport roles to understand how the uniform needed to perform for each job.

Commenting on the design, Boateng said in a statement: “Designing this uniform was a vast and painstaking undertaking and it went far beyond clothes. It was about creating an energetic shift internally. One of my main objectives was to create something that spoke to, and for, the airline’s colleagues. Something that inspired and empowered them, encouraged them to conduct their roles with pride and most importantly to ensure that they felt seen and heard.

OZWALD BOATENG – Ghanaian - British Designer of Newly Unveiled British Airways Uniforms - African Leaders Magazine

“Although the airline has a strong heritage, it was imperative to support in creating a fresh narrative of change and transcendence, while remaining timeliness.”

More than 1,500 British Airways staff have had an input into the design and testing of the new collection over the last four years. They took part in 50 workshops to help ensure the garment’s suitability, from design workshops to prototype feedback and garment trials in the air and on the ground.

To make sure that each garment is “fit for purpose,” the airline has been putting the uniform to the test over the last six months in secret trials. Cabin and flight crew uniforms have been put through their paces on cargo flights across Europe, while engineers have been secretly wearing the new uniforms while maintaining aircraft out of sight in Manchester and Cotswold Airports. Many of the outdoor garments have also been tested in deluge showers and freezers at -18 degrees Celsius to ensure they’re water-resistant, durable and fit for extreme weather conditions.

OZWALD BOATENG – Ghanaian - British Designer of Newly Unveiled British Airways Uniforms - African Leaders Magazine

During the trials, employees gave feedback on the practicability of the garments, resulting in amendments ahead of the rollout. For example, engineers requested easy access tool pockets for when they’re working on aircraft, while ground handlers asked for touch-screen technology fabric in their gloves so they can use their devices in cold climates without having to take them off.

In addition, British Airways states that sustainability and quality have been front and centre throughout the uniform design process, with more than 90 percent of the garments produced using sustainable fabric from blends of recycled polyester. As part of British Airways’ ‘BA Better World’ commitment to work with sustainable suppliers, the airline is only working with manufacturers that are members of the ‘Better Cotton’ initiative.

Sean Doyle, British Airways chairman and chief executive, added: “Our uniform is an iconic representation of our brand, something that will carry us into our future, representing the very best of modern Britain and helping us deliver a great British original service for our customers.

OZWALD BOATENG – Ghanaian - British Designer of Newly Unveiled British Airways Uniforms - African Leaders Magazine

“From the very start this has been about our people. We wanted to create a uniform collection that our people are proud to wear and with the help of over 1,500 colleagues, we are confident that we have delivered this.”

The airline’s engineers and ground operations agents will be the first to wear the new uniform from spring 2023, with all cabin crew, pilots and check-in agents switching over to the new designs in summer 2023.

As each employee picks up their new items of uniform, they will hand in their current Julien MacDonald garments to be donated to charity or recycled to create toys, tablet holders and more, with several items gifted to the airline’s museum.

 

source: fashionuniteduk.com

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