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THE FRIENDLY SKIES
For ground staff, Westwood has designed bags composed of recycled canvas, reused roadside banners, leather offcuts, and recycled brass. Part of a collaboration with the Ethical Africa Programme, in partnership with the International Trade Centre, the carryalls will be produced for Virgin Atlantic in the Kibera slum of Nairobi, where discarded metals such as padlocks and car parts are collected and melted down.
For ground staff, Westwood has designed bags made of recycled canvas, reused roadside banners, leather offcuts, and recycled brass.
“My clothes have always got a very strong dynamic rapport with the body—they are very body conscious, they help you to look glamorous, more hourglass, more woman,” Westwood says in a statement. “I design things to help people to hopefully express their personality. I am always trying to find fabrics that are more friendly to the environment. Working with Virgin Atlantic, they managed to research into this and find more eco-fabrics.”
Westwood says she sought to create a “futuristic look” that captured the glamour and style for which the Virgin Atlantic cabin crew are renowned. For the women, she played around with bust pleats, a nipped-in waist, and a pencil skirt with a curved hip line and a double pleat in the back to enhance the feminine silhouette. For the men, the designer produced a Savile Row-inspired three-piece suit in rich burgundy wool and “shadow details” in gray wool under the lapels and pockets. The overall effect, she says, is a “very traditional British look” made contemporary.
“Virgin Atlantic has a distinct spirit and from a design perspective we continually try to challenge the norm and stand out from the crowd,” Branson says. “Our current uniform has been around for more than 10 years and we have seen other airlines start to copy it. When we were choosing the designer for this project, we wanted to work with a group of people who share our spirit of adventure, who believe in challenging the status quo and creating something truly memorable.”