Ex-creative director of menswear at French fashion house Givenchy and Saville Row Brit designer, Ozwald Boateng has been announced as the new uniform designer for British Airways. The new look threads are set to be designed in time for the airline’s 100-year Centenary celebrations next year and will replace a Julian Macdonald designed uniform which BA staffers have worn since 2004.
Boateng has previously worked with Virgin Atlantic to design a Business Class amenity kit but this new project is on a totally different scale – with plans to create a “collection” for the airline’s 32,000 uniform wearers. Boateng, who launched his fashion career in 1986, is most well known for his men’s tailoring but this year he launched his first womenswear collection.
“Part of my excitement is the challenge of creating something so new with such a well-known brand,” explains Boateng.
“What attracted me to design the uniform really was the challenge of it. The number sounds like a lot, 32,000 and it is a sizeable amount of staff. 32,000 points of view. That’s an interesting challenge for me, but an exciting challenge.”
“It really gives me the opportunity to demonstrate my skills as a designer. If the wearers are enjoying what they wear then it’s a success.”
Saying that he will approach the project as he would approach a new collection, Boateng says he will create something that’s very “personal” and that evolves over time.
British Airways says staff will be closely involved in the development of the new uniform. The project is, it explains, part of a £4.5 billion investment in the customer experience, which includes refitting 128 long haul aircraft, fleetwide WiFi and a new Business Class seat which is set to be launched next year.
“At a time when we’re investing for customers, new uniforms are a visual representation of investment in our people and we want them to feel proud when they wear the new uniform,” explained BA’s chief executive, Alex Cruz.
The news came on the same day as the shock announcement that British Airways was closing its Hong Kong cabin crew base with immediate effect.