Virgin is brilliant at marketing. Keeping up with its tradition, Virgin cooked up another clever marketing move for Virgin America.
Starting August 8, Virgin America's more than 2,000 pilots, flight attendants and other crew members will wear their new and sleek uniforms designed by Banana Republic.
Virgin Airline describes the line as "utility chic", with lots of black with red and purple accessories, sophisticated scarves, a red trench coat and a leather jacket. Several items will be on sale at select Banana Republic stores and through the shopping section of Virgin's in-flight entertainment system. Due to security concerns, the airline does not want to sell the exact uniform. However, fashonistas will be able to buy coats, aviator sunglasses or tote bags for $78 to $250.
Luanne Calvert, Virgin America's vice president of marketing, stated: "We felt it is time to refresh our look. … We felt this is the right time to hearken back to the golden age of flying."
Airline apparel has evolved since the 1960s, when looks mattered as shown in the TV series Pan Am. At that time, all-female attendants wore colorful, sexy uniforms. Over the years, the outfits became more professional and men joined the ranks. Only a few airlines have redesigned their uniforms in recent years.
It took Virgin America 18 months to come up with the new look. Simon Kneen, Banana Republic's creative director, designed the uniforms so crew members could move around without losing buttons or getting stuck on chairs.
"We wanted to respect the heritage of in-flight uniform design while injecting a modern twist that's both functional and fashionable," he says.
With the new uniforms, Virgin achieves:
- Great publicity
- Great branding
- A new income stream