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June 24, 2024

Manish Malhotra speaks on designing Air India crew’s new look

Ismat Tahseen
If you fly Air India this December, you’ll have more than one reason to compliment that experience. The staff – from the cabin and cockpit crew to those on ground – will be seen in snazzy, uniforms designed by Manish Malhotra. The couturier has collaborated with the Tata Group-backed airline to create a new look for over 10,000 Air India employees, something that is part of the latter’s brand identity revamp, which also includes a new logo called The Vista.
Photo courtesy: Air India’s new logo, The Vista
The collaboration brings together two stalwarts – Air India, which has pioneered India’s aviation sector, building an extensive network since its first flight on October 15, 1932, as well as Manish Malhotra, who has over 30 remarkable years in the fashion landscape. An avid believer of experimenting with styles and blending Indian elements from Western cultures, he has an extensive clientele all around the world.
Air India announces partnership with celebrated couturier Manish Malhotra
Photo courtesy: Instagram/@airindia
Welcoming the news, Campbell Wilson, CEO & MD of Air India, shared: “Air India is delighted to be collaborating with Manish Malhotra to realise our shared ambition of representing the very best of a vibrant, bold, and progressive India on the world stage. We are working closely with Manish and his team to combine elements of our brand, our heritage and our culture, together with the unique requirements of the airline environment, for what we hope will be a fresh and exciting new look that supports and represents the new Air India.” The airline also revealed in a statement: “Air India expects to roll out the new look for its uniformed employees by the end of 2023.”
LuxeBook caught the fabulous couturier in a chat on the uniforms makeover and he shared his thoughts and how different this work is from his usual stomping ground where he’s designed silhouettes for the crème de la crème of stardom, from Naomi Campbell and Nick Jonas to Rekha, Isha Ambani, Deepika Padukone, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Alia Bhatt, Parineeti Chopra and so many more.
You’ll be designing new uniforms for Air India cabin crew, cockpit crew, ground and security staff. How do you feel to be doing this?
Working with Air India is an absolute honour. It’s a responsibility I take seriously, as uniforms play a significant role in the airline’s brand image and the overall passenger experience. I am excited to contribute to creating a professional and cohesive look that reflects the airline’s identity while ensuring comfort, functionality, and safety for all employees. Designing uniforms for our national carrier is a creative challenge, and I look forward to it.
Does it make for a creative change from designing beautiful outfits for celebrities?
Yes, this is indeed a different creative endeavour compared to designing outfits for celebrities. While both involve elements of creativity, they serve distinct purposes with unique considerations.
Designing outfits for celebrities often allows for more creative freedom and experimentation, as they are often meant to make a statement on red carpets and in the fashion world. These designs may focus on the latest trends, unique materials, and avant-garde concepts to capture attention and create a visual impact.
On the other hand, designing uniforms for airline personnel requires a more practical and functional approach. The uniforms need to prioritize comfort, safety, and functionality, as they are worn during long shifts and in various work environments. Additionally, they should align with the airline’s branding and convey a sense of professionalism and trust to passengers.
The airline is revamping its whole identity for a more modern outlook. Did you feel there is a lot of potential here?
Absolutely; revamping an airline’s identity provides a unique opportunity to create something that truly stands out and makes a strong impression on passengers and the industry as a whole. A modern outlook can breathe new life into an airline’s brand, and the uniforms are a crucial part of that identity. It is a significant potential to innovate and create a distinctive look.
 For now, the fashion frat is keenly awaiting a peek into what the new Air India uniforms will be like. Will the look do away with saris, which have been the airline’s choice of crew attire for six decades?
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Ismat Tahseen


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