Air India has unveiled new uniform designs for its cabin crew and pilot employees. The new designs are the latest element of the company-wide rebranding exercise as the airline restructures and prepares to take delivery of its first Airbus A350 aircraft.
Designed by the renowned Indian celebrity couturier, Manish Malhotra, the new uniforms feature an array of colors using the new design palette of the carrier. The corporate identity was recently unveiled on its first A350 long-range twinjet currently being prepared for delivery in Toulouse, France.
According to Air India, “The collection mirrors a rare, harmonious blend of rich Indian heritage and aesthetics with 21st-century style, elegance, and comfort. The new uniforms will be introduced in a phased manner over the next few months, starting with the entry of service of Air India’s first Airbus A350.”
Malhotra’s designs are said to represent a more confident, progressive, and resurgent new India while blending with the new corporate identity of the country’s national carrier.
“I am honored to have been given the opportunity to design the uniforms for Air India,” said Manish Malhotra. “It is a privilege to be able to contribute to the national flag-bearer and showcase the elegance and charm of Indian fashion. I aimed to create uniforms that capture the essence of India’s diverse culture and traditions while also embodying a modern and sophisticated look. By incorporating quintessential hues that are symbolic to India, I hope that these uniforms not only make the crew feel proud but also leave a lasting impression on the guests, representing the warmth and hospitality that India is known for.”
New uniforms – the finer detail
The new female cabin crew uniform features a ready-to-wear ombré saree with intricate patterns reminiscent of Indian heritage architecture (jharokha) and the Vista (new Air India logo icon), paired with a comfortable blouse and blazer.
The ready-to-wear sarees can be optionally worn with comfortable pants, which provides greater flexibility to the female cabin crew to choose the style they most identify with and brings a unique East-meets-West look.
Meanwhile, the ombré sarees for the senior female cabin crew will be a fusion of aubergine and burgundy, combined with aubergine blazers, which are described as “exuding a balance of authority and sophistication”. Conversely, the junior female cabin crew will wear vibrant red-to-purple ombré sarees combined with red blazers.
The process of using ombré is a signature technique used by Malhotra, reflecting his deep-rooted fondness for traditional attire and gradients. The color palette of the new uniforms comprises deep red, burgundy, aubergine, and accents of gold, described as paying homage to India’s rich cultural heritage.
The well-fitting uniforms for both male and female cabin crew have been designed with practicality and durability in mind, allowing for ease of movement when crew perform their in-flight duties.
The new uniform designs were developed in close consultation with Air India’s cabin crew representatives and the airline’s In-flight Services team, who also conducted an extensive testing exercise for the new designs.
The cockpit crew’s uniform features a classic black double-breasted suit with a print inspired by the Vista logo. The design is said to “signify professionalism, timelessness, and the gravitas of the flying profession.”
Malhotra was also asked by the airline to design appropriate crew footwear ranges that complement his new unfirm designs.
The female cabin crew will wear dual-tone (black and burgundy) block heels, and the male cabin crew will wear comfortable black brogues. The uniforms include pearl earrings and sling bags for the female cabin crew.
A new dawn for Air India
Sustainability and quality have been the cornerstones of the design and production process of these new uniforms. All fabrics and garments are proudly sourced and tailored in India.
“Air India’s crew uniforms are amongst the world’s most storied in aviation history,” said Campbell Wilson, Chief Executive Officer & Managing Director, of Air India. “We firmly believe that Manish Malhotra’s innovative ensemble will script an exciting new chapter for Air India’s future narrative. It perfectly captures the essence of our new identity, service principles, and our pursuit of setting new benchmarks in global aviation.”
“Air India has been in the world’s spotlight for some time. We are confident that our new crew uniforms will rise to the heightened expectations, distinctly making a statement that defines the very best of Indian heritage and hospitality. Travelers across continents will be able to instantly recognize these uniforms as the new Air India,” he added.
Malhotra has been busy of late. Not only has he designed the new uniform lines for both cabin crew and pilots at Air India, but Malhotra has created new uniforms for the airline’s ground staff, engineers, and security personnel, all of which are to be rolled out in the coming months.