Wednesday 24 July 2013

Fly The Ethical Skies

It should come as no surprise to regular readers of The View that my admiration of Pier Crush Vivienne Westwood knows no bounds. She's a style icon, effortlessly reinventing herself, always willing to try out new ideas and explore new avenues. All the while, of course, keeping her strong ethical principles firmly to the fore.

Her new venture is one that most fashion designers would give their eye teeth for--reworking an airline's uniform. Vivienne's landed a prime gig. She's redesigning the iconic red uniforms of Virgin Atlantic.

It's a tricky job. The uniforms are worn by over 7,000 staff members worldwide, in different jobs and levels of movement, at wildly different climates and conditions. In addition, they have to look sleek and stylish. Virgin Atlantic have a seriously classy reputation to keep up, and their uniforms are envied throughout the airline industry. How do you get that balance right and keep it ethically correct?

Well, as for the first question, the new ensembles are currently on trial with 180 Virgin Atlantic employees across the spectrum, who are assessing them for fit, comfort and performance before their full launch in 2014. In terms of sustainability, I think Vivienne's already nailed it. She's using recycled materials, and have designed the uniforms to be closed-loop. Once worn out, they can be broken down to provide raw materials for new clothing. In addition, she's designed crew bags made from recycled roadside banners and canvas, with retasked brass fittings.

Personally, I really like the jet-age, retro-scifi look that Vivienne's landed with, but then I've always been biased. This is top-flight stuff.

For more pics, check out the slideshow over at Ecouterre.

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