Friday, 31 May 2013

Westwood collaboration with Virgin Atlantic.

When I think of air stewardesses and their uniforms the words I associate are conformity, glamour, control, etiquette and environmentally damaging due to their air miles collected and carbon footprint, so now to mention Vivienne Westwood in the same breath as air stewardess uniform it becomes slightly confusing.

But Westwood has collaborated with Virgin Atlantic in designing the uniforms due to be launched in 2014. The men’s suit is a rich dark burgundy cotton two piece, while the women’s uniform is highly charged in bright red consisting of cinched in waist blazer and a figure fitted skirt which has hint of a bustle at back all very alluring and heralds back to the heyday of 50s air travel when it was perceived as a glamorous vocation for a woman to have.

However Westwood who is very passionate about the environment and who launched the Climate Revolution campaign is now endorsing air travel seems absurd, yes the uniforms are made of latest recycling technology but that doesn’t counteract the damage done by the air travel. Also Westwood who has always designed with a more punk attitude is now designing uniforms which are diametrically opposed to punk foundations is bizarre, the whole notion of a uniform is to belong to an organisation, to become institutionalised, to submerge the personality rather than enhance it, it is the widest extreme away from the normal Westwood aesthetic.
I cannot see the reasoning behind this collaboration by Westwood, I know the benefits to Virgin Atlantic as it endorses the airline with an air of fashionable kudos and also helps to enhance the reputation of air stewardesses as desirable and modern. Still I don’t know what benefit Westwood achieves unless she is aiming to make air travel industry more environmental and I don’t see how that is happening by just wearing a sustainable cotton uniform.

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