From Vivienne Westwood’s stunning Virgin Atlantic apparel, Air France with Christian Lacroix and Hainan Airlines by Laurence Xu; to in-house designs from Loganair, Flybe and Thai Airways our Top Ten Cabin Crew Uniforms list has included some of the best Flight Attendant fashion since we started the lists back in 2014.
Since then 50 fabulous airlines have graced our ‘Style In The Aisles’ pages – Air France, British Airways, Qantas, easyJet, TAP Air Portugal, Singapore Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Aeroflot, Korean Airlines, Avianca, Etihad, Flybe, jetBlue, Emirates, Finnair, Air Malta, S7 Airlines, Thai Airways, Fiji Airways, Air New Zealand, Alitalia, Vueling, Porter Airlines, Vietnam Airlines, Ryanair, Virgin America, TUI, Bangkok Airways, Aegean Airlines, KLM, Hainan Airlines, La Compagnie, Cathay Pacific, Loganair, Lufthansa, Garuda Indonesia, CityJet, Tiger Air Australia, Thomas Cook Airlines, China Airlines, Delta Airlines, Norwegian, Hawaiian Airlines, ANA All Nippon Airways, Asiana Airlines, China Eastern, Virgin Australia, EVA Air, Corendon Airlines and Air Canada.
With so many amazing uniforms already featured, our 2019 top ten has been pretty hard to put together. But we have scoured the globe looking for the very best, most stylish and glamorous cabin crew couture and here, for your fashion pleasure, is our 2019 Top Ten Cabin Crew Uniforms.
Following creations for Etihad Airways and Alitalia which have both featured in our previous top tens, Ettore Bilotta’s exquisite uniform design technique was called upon to create new apparel for Turkish Airlines in 2018 to celebrate the airlines 85th birthday and to mark the opening of Istanbuls’ new flagship airport.
The uniforms combine shapes and colours found in Istanbul’s Bosphorus with a new ‘flow detail’ made to symbolise the Turkish capital and its ‘effortless and dynamic energy’.
The design incorporates traditional patterns found in artisanal Turkish glassware, ceramics and calligraphy with contemporary textures and details; with a colour scheme of deep red and anthracite grey, and includes hats, gloves, dresses, bags and accessories.
The airline said that uniforms for all cabin crew, flight deck, as well as those of flying chefs and ground personnel ‘Will be streamlined under a single design approach to offer the passengers to live holistic brand experience.’
Speaking about the new designs Bilotta said, “When I started to design for Turkish Airlines, the first thing that inspired me was Istanbul. This city has been a melting pot for art and civilisation for centuries and has a rare richness as a common heritage of many cultures. I wanted to bring elements from traditional calligraphy and mosaics together with the new interpretations of Turkish motifs, which emphasise modern lines, into foulards and ties to reflect a contrast and duality.”
After rigorous testing on long-haul flights in different climates the new apparel for over 25,000 employees was rolled out across the airline in August 2019.
Created by former Vueling founders Carlos Muñoz and Lázaro Ros Volotea, which originates from the Spanish verb ‘Revolotear’ which means to ‘fly around’, took to the skies back in March 2012.
The low-cost carrier has grown steadily and today operates a fleet of 36 aircraft to 87 destinations across Europe.
On June 15, 2015 the airline unveiled its new uniforms in Bordeaux, created by a team of in-house designers including Ramona Papa and Aurélie Maldonado, native of Bordeaux and all fashion enthusiasts, to celebrate its fourth year of operations.
A preview of the new outfits was given at the Athénée Municipale during the parade of the Institut Bordelais of Modeling Model Making (IBSM).
“Who better than our hostesses and stewards to renew the uniforms of our crews and propose a design that is both elegant, different and modern without forgetting the practical features necessary for the flight crew function?” Said Carlos Muñoz, founder and CEO of Volotea. “This new uniform perfectly reflects Volotea’s values: freshness and creativity.”
The airlines staff were heavily involved in the final designs, being questioned on the final aesthetic and practicality with over 90% positive feedback commenting that new outfits were ‘not only beautiful and colourful but also very comfortable and practical.’
Featuring heavily in the designs is the airlines iconic ‘Vichy’ print which hails from the small French town where the print was historically made.
On Thursday June 13 2019 Oman Air unveiled their brand new uniforms at Muscat International Airport with the crew for the days flight to London Heathrow Airport showing off the stunning apparel.
The new uniform has been designed and created by the airlines in-house product development and brand team and will be first used on the carriers flagship London routes with over 1,000 crew fitted within ten days. The uniform will then be rolled out across the network in phases.
Inspired by the ‘Sultanate of Oman’s rich colours, culture, history and heritage’, the new uniform and its accessories have retained its recognisable turquoise hues, drawing inspiration from the Sea of Oman, while representing an evolution in style to a more sophisticated look.
Female outfits include a teal/turquoise one-piece dress with a flowing cut that falls below the knees, developed ‘To ensure that it is both comfortable and elegant for various nationalities and profiles.’ This is accompanied by a jacket in the same colour, tailored to ‘Convey flair and elegance’. A gold hat and veil has been completely redesigned from the old style which was very reminiscent of the Emirates hat. This will be removed after boarding.
Crew will also change in to a dinner jacket during meal services, accompanied by a floral scarf designed to embody Oman’s seasonal colours inspired by the country’s sea, sunset and rose-covered mountains.
Male crew will wear a modern dark teal suit with a turquoise tie. Meanwhile, male cabin directors will be dressed in a grey vest and gold tie, with the addition of gold accents alongside the turquoise palette.
Commenting on the new uniforms Abdulaziz Al Raisi, CEO of Oman Air, said: “Inspired by the rich elements of Oman, our new uniform is a testimony that style can be derived from our own inspiring landscapes and surroundings. It was a richly rewarding experience working on this project and we are very proud and excited to now introduce the brand new uniforms on our Oman Air flights. The tremendous amount of effort and time dedicated by our team working through multiple design iterations, and modifications before the precise styling and overall look was achieved in each garment, is indeed praiseworthy.”
In January 2018, Alaska Airlines unveiled their brand new modern, West Coast-inspired, custom-designed uniform collection, created by fashion designer Luly Yang. The design, which was more than two years in the making, will clad 19,000 Alaska, Virgin America and Horizon Air uniformed employees starting in late 2019.
“Luly’s designs perfectly capture our fresh, West Coast vibe and we’re absolutely thrilled with the collection,” said Sangita Woerner, Alaska Airlines’ Vice President of Marketing. “Like our refreshed brand, launched in early 2016, our new uniform collection includes bright pops of color, clean lines and stunning finishes, creating a stylish yet approachable look.”
Echoing Woerner’s remarks was Justin Fitzgerald, a flight attendant who worked for Virgin America and now Alaska Airlines. “The Virgin America uniform has been such a sleek and modern look that I thought it would be so hard to top,” he said. “Seeing Luly’s designs brought to life has been super exciting! Ms. Yang has taken a lot of our input and has created a very cool, classic yet modern, West Coast vibe!”
Alaska began the project by surveying thousands of uniformed employees; following up with focus groups and work site visits to understand the features different workgroups wanted to see in their new uniforms. Overwhelmingly, the top requests from employees were more pockets and designs that look great on all body shapes and sizes, as well as performance over a range of climates. The collection is designed to be layered so that employees can self-regulate comfort while working in the freezing temperatures of Barrow, Alaska, to the balmier weather of Mexico.
Using this research and information she gathered from face-to-face interactions with employees across the system, Yang spent two years designing and creating a signature silhouette for the Alaska program. Her focus on fit and function enabled additional touches including water resistant materials, active wear fabrics, longer shirt tails that don’t untuck from skirts and trousers, and flexible textiles that move with the body.
Seeking high quality and transparency in the manufacturing of their uniforms, Alaska selected uniform supplier Unisync Group Limited of Toronto. Working in close partnership with Yang, Unisync produced custom fabrics, buttons and signature accessories for the new program working to ensure the garments provide optimal on-the-job performance, while also reflecting Alaska’s refreshed brand.
Germanwings staff had worn ‘Blackberry’ coloured apparel but following the rebranding all 3,200 + crew have slowly been kitted out in the striking new ‘Sky Blue’ uniform since November 2018.
“Now we have a uniform appearance in the cabin and present ourselves to our guests as one company – another visible milestone towards a uniform brand presence in all our flight operations,” says Michael Knitter, Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer of the Eurowings Group, “It looks fresh, modern and lively – so it suits our crews perfectly.”
Around 100,000 uniform parts were required for the change of uniform, an average of 30 items of clothing and accessories for each flight attendant.
All articles are Öko-Tex-certified and, with a few exceptions, suitable for washing machines.
The dress was a bestseller: more than 500 flight attendants ordered this ‘one-piece’. This means that every female cabin member has at least one of the Eurowings uniform dresses in their wardrobe.
Despite years of uncertainty over the carriers future, Alitalia’s crew are always immaculate dressed in some stunning uniforms and this is why the carrier features on our top ten for the second time. From Giorgio Armani to Mila Schon you can read the full history of the carriers uniforms through the years here.
In 2018 the airline called upon Italian fashion designer Alberta Ferretti to create a sleek new look, despite only introducing their Ettore Bilotta apparel at a cost of €6M in 2016. Bilotta’s uniform was applauded by designers and the envy of cabin crew around the world, It was subsequently criticised by the airlines staff as being uncomfortable and impractical.
The new wardrobe consists of three main pieces for female crew – a dress, trousers and a sweater, plus an apron for inflight services and handbag. For the men a smart tailored jacket and trousers is styled with a crisp white shirt and tie and briefcase. This is complemented with a rain proof trench coat.
Each piece is heavily influenced by the Alitalia logo. Ferretti said “I find the logo of Alitalia extremely beautiful, so I used it for Jacquard sweaters and also on a two-tone trimmings that describes all the garments, from the masculine to the feminine ones It is my way of giving a message: we need to go back to believing in our country, in its beauty, in its potentialities, in which foreigners are better than us, and we must learn from them to promote ourselves in the best possible way.”
She continued “As a material I chose the wool, obviously produced in Italy. Everything is Made in Italy, I want to reiterate it was not easy, because obviously there is a precise expense limit for a uniform, and we say that we have saved in decoration and gained quality.”
LATAM Airlines Group was created in 2016 following the successful merger of LAN Airlines, TAM Airlines and their affiliates
At the unveiling of the airlines new look, the company also revealed the new look uniforms to be worn by over 23,000 cabin crew, sales office and airport staff throughout LATAM Airline Group’s network, with the global roll-out to begin before the end of 2016.
The LATAM uniforms which showcase the signature indigo and coral of the LATAM logo, were created by the celebrated Brazilian fashion designer Pedro Lourenço with collaboration from a focus group of over 80 employees from different areas of the company.
Lourenço’s obsession with fashion began early. As a child, he accompanied his designer parents, Reinaldo Lourenço and Gloria Coelho, to Come des Garçons and Yohji Yamamoto shows and photography exhibitions of Irving Penn and Richard Avedon. At the tender age of 12, Lourenço became the lead designer for his mother’s diffusion line Carlota Joakina. His first collection for the label was shown at Sao Paulo Fashion Week in 2002.
Jazeera Airways was created back in 2004 and since then has grown to become the second national airline and has been dynamic in the growth of low-cost airlines in the Middle East. They currently operate a fleet of 11 Airbus A320 aircraft to 30 destinations across the Middle East and Europe. In October 2019, the Jazeera Airways launched first flight to London, bringing first new service from Kuwait to the UK in 55 years.
Using uniform design company Olino the carrier provided the uniform specialists with the design sketches and the designers made the drawings come to life through several unique custom uniforms and accessories.
Unveiled in October 2017, pilots and cabin crew now wear a stylish and fashionable yet functional uniform featuring several distinctive looks.
To ensure all crew members are fitted perfectly, a team of uniform experts travelled to the outskirts of Kuwait City to carry out personal fittings of almost 300 pilots, cabin crew and ground staff. In-house tailors then performed alterations to garments to ensure a perfect fit and happy wearers.
The complete uniform solution boasts nearly 30 different items, ranging from pilot jackets to cabin crew hats, as well as knitwear and coats.
Several uniform items feature distinctive details unique for Jazeera Airways, including logo buttons and patterns on cabin crew dresses. All incorporated details and features match the company colours and design ethos to ensure a coherent appearance across passenger touchpoints.
Back in the 1970’s Southwest Airlines flight attendants debuted mini skirt dresses and thigh high boots as part of their uniform attire.
Fast forward to 2017 and the carrier revealed its (much needed) first full uniform updated in some 20 years.
To ensure that the new uniforms not only reflected the airline’s brand but were also functional and comfortable for employees, the airline created an Employee Design Team that worked with corporate apparel maker ‘Cintas’ to create the designs.
Once the pieces were designed, about 120 employees did a six-month test run in the different options to determine the best fit and functionality. In total, it took three years to complete the update.
To stay in line with Southwest’s brand and known colours, the team went with hues featured in the brand’s colour pallet, including a bold blue, a warm red, and summit silver.
The collection features a range of pants, shirts, polos, shorts, skirts, and dresses that employees can choose from in Southwest’s signature colors. Pilots uniforms have also been updated: Previously navy blue, they’re now black.
The new design is in conjunction with the recent changes Southwest has been making to its cabin interiors and its brand as a whole, including the new Heart galley and logo the airline adopted in 2014, making updates like seats upholstered in bright blue leather to fit the theme.
Icelandair is one of the worlds oldest airlines. Created in 1937, today the airline operates a fleet of 36 aircraft to some 48 destinations from its hub at Keflavik International Airport.
Following the 2008 financial criss that hit the country the airline launched a turnaround plan which included a brand new uniform for all of its over 1500 front line staff. Designed by the airline itself and created by uniform specialists Olino.
The cabin crew collection includes jackets, skirts and dresses, trousers, waistcoats, cabin shirts, aprons, braid badges, poncho coats, ruffle ties, belts and wings. Meanwhile pilot’s collection covers jackets, trousers, caps, pilot shirts, scarfs and coats, epaulettes, ties, belts and wings.
“Our cabin crew are the face of Icelandair,” says Rannveig Eir Einarsdóttir, director of in-flight safety and services. “That’s why we place great emphasis on the design of the new uniforms.”
Icelandair commissioned the Icelandic designer Steinunn Sigurdardóttir to design the new uniforms. Sigurdardóttir has made a name for herself working with many of the most distinguished contemporary designers. Her positions have included designer for Ralph Lauren, senior designer at Calvin Klein, director and senior designer at Gucci and design director at La Perla.
And there we have it, our 2019 look at the best airline fashion. What do you think of this years list? Pop your thoughts in the comments below.