Virgin America crew hit the runway with Banana Republic
This summer Virgin America cabin crew will debut new Banana Republic–designed uniforms. The airline’s 2,000 in-flight and airport teammates, and pilots, will be looking fresh in uniforms featuring aviation details and a palette inspired by the airline’s own signature cabin design. The outfits will be unveiled on Virgin America flights and at airports nationwide on August 8, 2012 – the day the airline marks its fifth anniversary of operations.
“In creating the uniform designs for Virgin America, we wanted to respect the heritage of in-flight uniform design while injecting a modern twist that’s both functional and fashionable,” stated Banana Republic's creative director and executive vice president, Simon Kneen. “We referenced the time when onboard style and sophistication was of utmost importance and designed a modern interpretation that incorporates aviation details and celebrates Virgin America’s signature style.”
Left to right: Women’s classic pencil skirt and short-sleeved shirt with princess seaming and covered plackets with reversible belt; Classic red cardigan with fashion rib at shoulders, cuff and hem; slim-fitting black shirt dress with silk charmeuse black border scarf and reversible belt
The uniform project was an 18–month process, involving ongoing design brainstorms among Kneen and Banana Republic designers, as well as informative focus groups and fit sessions with the airline’s creative and brand teams, airport teammates, crew, and in–flight leadership. The partnership also consisted of a unique internal “Design Challenge,” in which Banana Republic designers competed for the coveted opportunity to create the uniform design.
Right: Women’s slim–fitting black shirt dress, silk charmeuse black border scarf and reversible belt
“The new uniforms were designed to be modern and sleek in keeping with the Virgin America brand and cabin design, but also needed to accommodate the unique work needs of teammates – such as the use of performance fabric for long travel days, stretch and extra room factored in to meet the demands of the airport and aircraft environment, and the creation of a variety of pieces for weather conditions all over the country,” said Frances Fiorillo, senior vice president for people and in-flight services at Virgin America. “Banana Republic worked directly with our teammates to rise to this challenge and create uniforms that are ultra chic, durable and comfortable. It was a very tall order, and if the reaction of our teammates is any measure: they more than over-delivered.”
Left: Lambskin leather jacket with classic pencil skirt
The uniforms feature an array of styles for Virgin America’s pilots, in-flight and guest service teammates. For men, the nine styles include leather jackets, lined mac coats, striped sleeve sweaters, woven shirts and pants. For women, 13 styles include a classic pencil skirt, slim dress, trousers, leather jacket and trench to start, paired with luxe silk print scarves, slim plaque belts and Virgin America–branded serving aprons for in-flight meal service. All looks include classic aviation touches, such as shoulder tabs and button chest pockets.
Virgin America will also offer travellers a chance to buy fashions inspired by the new Virgin America uniform collection via the Red IFE system shop platform. The items, available for mail order purchase in-flight, include aviator sunglasses, trenchcoats for men and women, a leather tote, and a men’s messenger bag.
“Since the golden age of jet-setting in the 1960s, in-flight fashion has often been elusive in the US, but we hope to bring a little of it back to the skies with these new designs,” said Luanne Calvert, vice president of marketing at Virgin America. “Even as a young airline just celebrating its fifth year in operations, continued investment in our design and overall guest experience is a priority for us. These new uniforms really represent the next stage of evolution of in-flight fashion, incredibly practical and designed for the modern work world – but with a nod back to the stylish golden age of air travel.”
Right: Women’s modern red trench coat, pilot’s black soft-shell jacket and flat-front trousers, women’s black slim–fitting shirt dress, silk charmeuse red border scarf and reversible belt
This is not the first time Virgin America and Banana Republic have partnered – past partnership highlights over the last few years include the first live-tweeted in-flight fashion show this past February and in-flight makeovers at 35,000 feet in 2010.