New British Airways uniforms to be designed by Ozwald Boateng

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British Airways has announced that Ozwald Boateng will design a new range of staff uniforms.  The launch will form part of BA’s 100th birthday celebrations next year.

Boateng joins a long list of famous names to design British Airways staff uniforms. These include Paul Costelloe, Roland Klein, Baccart Weatherall, Hardy Amies and Julien MacDonald, the designer of the airline’s current version.

British Airways heritage uniforms

Boateng’s ‘modern contemporary twist’ will lead to new clothing for all 32,000 British Airways employees, not just cabin crew, who wear a uniform as part of their role.

Boateng, who launched his first womenswear collection this year and has run Givenchy Homme as well as his own brand, will be working closely with the airline’s employees throughout the development process.  This will include shadowing them to understand their roles and how the uniforms need to perform, to design, testing and final delivery.

Ozwald Boateng new BA uniform

When I flew Delta in the US recently I read an article in the inflight magazine about the development process of their new uniform.  It sounded like a hugely complex process, especially when you are dealing with everyone from engineers to cabin crew and having to mix fashion and practicality across a wide range of sizes.

There is of course huge fashion spin-off potential here.  Unless you have been living under a rock (or don’t live in East London), you’ll obviously know that one of the hottest fashion ranges for the last three years has been the Vetements copies of the DHL courier uniform.  The range starts at £185 for a DHL T-shirt (see here) and goes into four figures for a yellow DHL parka jacket.

Here is one on the runway during the Vetements show at Paris Fashion Week:

Can BA start a trend here for £1000 copies of their hi viz vests, designed by Boateng and potentially modelled by members of senior management?  Only time will tell ….

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  1. OT
    Can you pool SPG or HH points with spouse?

  2. no one – even BA – is going to pay £1.85 or £ 18.50 or let alone £185 for a t-shirt.

    heck BA ain’t going to pay £185 for a FULL uniform set let alone a single part of it.

  3. “potentially modelled by members of senior management” … love it!

  4. BA Trying to bury the news of their HKG crww base closure. Disgraceful way to treat a long serving team of crew.

  5. Rob, surprised and disappointed that you have highlighted this news. BA pumped out 4 press briefings yesterday I think to cover up and bury other bad news. The callous manner in which the closed and summarily dismissed the entire HKG based crew was disgusting. The letter from Mr Bird, who subsequently deleted his LinkedIn profile, was both insensitive and unnecessary.

    Closing the base may have necessary, the manner in which it was done however speaks volumes about the company and the letter writer.

    • +1

      • +1

      • I took an editorial view that this was a commercial decision by BA. More importantly, I am guessing that the majority of us would have taken the same commercial decision if in the same position, since I assume many of us have had to fire someone at some point.

        Is it right to criticise a decision when – if in the same position – I would probably, albeit with reservations, have made the same decision? No.

        • I don’t think it’s the decision so much, it’s the zero notice given.

        • LCY Flyer says:

          Showing your true colours here Raffles I think. What an absolutely odious statement to make.

          • If I was your boss and I told you that you had to cut £x million from your staff budget – or you’re fired yourself (and by they way you have a big mortgage to pay and a couple of kids to support) – and you had a group of workers who were disproportionately expensive compared to other staff and were non-unionised and had no employee protection rights (unless almost all the rest of your staff) what would you do? Tell me. I’m intrigued.

            That doesn’t mean it was done in the right way, of course, but I am willing to believe the commercial rationale was acceptable.

            Take a look at this article from the current BusinessWeek – In the US, IBM now pays 1 month severence, irrespective of your seniority. You can do 20 years and be a senior manager and still be fired with 1 months pay. You don’t even get the 1 month pay unless you sign away all your rights to sue IBM over your dismissal. That’s how it is if you live in a country with few worker rights.

        • Shoestring says:

          @Jamie @LCY Flyer – so observing the HK labour law, paying contractual notice & appropriate compensation is not good enough for you?

          Plenty of companies in the UK do this.

          Requiring employees to leave the premises immediately is also very common. Perhaps abrupt, perhaps ‘disrespectful’ to long-standing employees – but perfectly normal.

          Nobody likes getting made redundant or reading stories like this but it’s flexibility in employment law that allows UK/ US companies to recruit quickly in times of plenty – as well as to cut the costs quickly when the business requires it.

        • I have spent the last 3 years making people redundant thanks to austerity. I understand it has to happen and even that the path of least resistance will be taken. Hell my own role has been on every list I have created in the time.
          What I don’t understand is how any sentient being could issue such a callous and brutish letter. Moreover what is the mind set st BA that thinks the handling of this was anything but commercially damaging.

        • Shoestring says:

          @Paul – hang on – reading around the dismissals, it seems the letter said either take 1 month’s salary in lieu of notice, or accept our ex gratia offer (more generous). You’ve only got 4 days to decide.

          All in line with contracts & local labour laws.

          Yes – very contemptuous of long serving loyal members of staff but we’re talking about HK here, where it’s easy to dismiss staff without much in the way of compo. (One reason HK’s economy is so vibrant.) That’s the way of the world & you can’t reasonably apply different nations’ standards to the actual employment law as it stands in HK.

          Latest instalment ‘Sacked British Airways staff protest at Hong Kong International Airport, accuse airline of breaking labour laws’

    • The ratio of journalism to regurgitated press releases on this website appears to have declined quite a lot.

      • +1

        This is a paraphrased press release.

        • Oh come on. The second half talking about DHL t-shirts was entertaining, and certainly news for me! I live in south-east London and work in east London, but somehow this hot new fashion trend had somehow escaped me…

      • Sorry Rob have to agree here. Why is this story being given air time.

        • It filled a slot and I’ve wanted to use that Vetements story for a while. We have not, to be fair, covered the ‘firing with no notice’ dismissal of all BA’s Hong Kong-based cabin crew yesterday.

    • the_real_a says:

      Out of interest whats the cost differences? Surely we cannot take a view until we know the numbers…

    • +1

  6. £185 for a T-shirt ????! As we say up North. When is Primark’s version coming?

    • Just get a job at DHL and get them for free!

    • The Guy from Hackney says:

      The people who pay that price are not from London, they’ve usually ‘moved to Shoreditch’. If a replica work shirt is your thing then both Hackney and Dalston market (based in East London) have those for £15, and even then you only handover £10 unless you’re a tourist 🙂

  7. Please tell me you’re having a laugh with the ludicrously pricey DHL t-shirt bit?!

  8. It might be better to spend the money used for the uniforms on something that would benefit us long suffering pax.

  9. I quite like my rock.

  10. Having just returned from BA long haul CW last week, and being very disappointed with the service both ways, I would suggest that the money ‘wasted’ on crew uniforms would be far better spent on the passengers who pay good money to use their service. Who gives a damn about what the staff are wearing. If Asda et al can produce hardwearing/smart school uniforms for kids which are extremely cheap, why can’t BA go down the same path?

  11. If Oswald Baoteng can get a new uniform designed and out in less than a year is there any chance he can also take on the BA enhancements that seem to take years to roll out? Blankets, afternoon tea etc etc.

    • Lady London says:

      You just said ‘enhancement’. do you really mean ‘enhancement’ as it is commonly understood when we refer to British Airways “enhancements”. Usually accompanied by a British Airways statement saying “8 out of 10 cats preferred it” er… I mean, the ‘enhancement’ is a result of British Airways “customer feedback”. And yet, ‘enhancement’ always somehow removes something from said passengers.

    • The blankets thing was just weird. Let’s assume the blankets get chucked once a month. This means that some blankets were replaced 10 or so times with ‘new’ old blankets before they bothered to put on the more expensive new ones.

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