updated - May 20, 2013 Monday EDT
By Zanub Saeed
Banana Republic and Virgin America announced that they collaborated to create new uniform designs for their employees, including pilots, stewards, and airport personnel, for this summer.
The new modern looks, with ideas taken from Virgin's famous insignia, will be unveiled on August 8, the fifth anniversary of the airline, across airports in the United States, according to a press release issued by Virgin America on Monday. Those who fly with Virgin will also get an exclusive chance to purchase Banana Republic travel essentials inspired by the new uniforms, noted the press release, for a limited time beginning August 7.
"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," Banana Republic Creative Director and Executive Vice President, Simon Kneen, said for the press release. "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."
EVP Kneen and Banana Republic designers took over 18 months to come up with the Virgin creations, noted the press release, with the assistance of focus groups and Virgin's creative and brand teams. The project was called the "Design Challenge" internally, said the press release, where Banana Republic was one of several retailers interested in getting the rights to make the designs.
"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," Frances Fiorillo, senior vice president for People and In-Flight Services at Virgin America, was quoted as stating for the press release.
"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," Fiorillo continued.
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