While the fashion industry’s impacts on pollution, water use, carbon emissions, human rights, and gender inequality are growing, the need for a transition to sustainable fashion is clear since a while now. Since years, Airlines and others are collaborating to shift the fashion economy and foster international cooperation on the issue. With sustainability being the buzzword in aviation, here are some green initiatives by major International Airlines.
British Airways has just unveiled its new uniform. More than 90% of the garments are produced using sustainable fabric from blends of recycled polyester. Old uniforms will be donated to charity, recycled, or given to the airline’s museum.
EasyJet’s new pilot and cabin crew uniform, made entirely of recycled plastic bottles, was awarded the ‘Sustainability Award’ at the 2021 Professional Clothing Industry Association Worldwide Awards. The new fabric, which is tailored to the airline’s current look, is made from high-tech material made from approximately 45 recycled plastic bottles per uniform. Aside from the new fabric, all clothing-related packaging has been replaced with recyclable and biodegradable materials, such as replacing plastic collar strays with recyclable cardboard ones, plastic shirt clips with metal shirt clips, non-recyclable white coated cards with recyclable cardboard cards, and polypropylene outer shirt covers with biodegradable shirt covers.
Emirates, based in Dubai, has taken a significant step forward by opting to provide sustainable blankets to its passengers. The blankets provided in Economy Class on long-haul flights are made from recycled bottles. Each blanket is constructed from 28 recycled bottles. According to the airline’s statisticians, these blankets saved 88 million plastic bottles from landfills in one year, which is equivalent to the weight of 44 A380 aircraft. The carrier has implemented a slew of other recycling initiatives, including cans, plastic containers, glass bottles, and even paper products.
Akasa Air, India’s newest airline, breaks the monotony by introducing athleisure uniforms for its crew, which include chic trousers, jackets, and comfortable sneakers. The uniform is based on the company’s core values of employee centricity and sustainability. The fabric for the trouser and jacket has been specially designed for Akasa Air, using recycled polyester fabric made from pet bottle plastic salvaged from marine waste. Vanilla Moon created sneakers with soles made of recycled rubber and produced without the use of plastic.
Virgin Atlantic, based in the United Kingdom, has collaborated with the designer Vivienne Westwood to design its staff uniforms. However, this collaboration is more than just about fashion. The airline practices a gender identity policy that lets its staff choose which of the outfits they wear to work – “no matter their gender, gender identity or gender expression”. These airlines’ in-flight and ground staff uniforms were designed also with sustainability in mind. The recycled polyester yarn used in the new uniforms is made from used plastic bottles. The fabrics used in the suits also have a nano finish, which allows the clothes to keep their color and finish for a much longer period of time. Bags are also made from recycled materials such as brass, canvas, and discarded leather.
The French airline has been recycling its uniforms since 2016, as part of its commitment to sustainable development. The company collects used work clothes and uniforms and transports them to a recycling facility where they are processed and used as raw material to make cement granules.