For Bangkok International Fashion Week 2011 (BIFW 2011), Polpat Asavaprapha presented his own ASV by Asava collection, as well as his stylish designs for the new Bangkok Airways uniform. The leading fashion designer compared this project for the boutique airline as performing a facelift.
"It wasn't easy to take out the colourful pattern with fishes and seashells since it was like a heritage," he said. "I personally don't like striking patterns and prefer neat, clean and contemporary designs. The challenge in designing the uniforms was that they do not only represent the airline but also Thailand, since Bangkok Airways fly to many destinations."
He looked at the carrier's identities and interpreted them into the designs. For example, the aircrafts' blue stripes had him creating stripe patterns in turquoise and cobalt blue. And to express its identity as a leisure airline, he designed the uniform to render a smart casual look.
"The uniforms are still colourful but playing on the contrasting bold shades of blue," he said. "The palette for men's uniform feature grey and blue with cobalt stripes on shirts, and this allows a smart and casual look. The men's uniform reflects my own style and how I dress, and my friends have even asked me whether the male models were wearing my shirts."
Models donned the new uniform on the BIFW 2011 on the catwalk as if it were one of the Spring/Summer collections. However, Polpat pointed that uniforms shouldn't be seen as come-and-go fashionable clothing and instead be timeless and most important functional, to facilitate the cabin crew's job in taking care of passengers. The women's uniform thus include pants and culottes while the men's uniform involve no ties that get in the way and no belts to quickly pass through airport security.
Different designs have been created for Bangkok Airway's 1,200 frontline staff of flight attendants, reservation and ground crew, and this is a drastic change after more than 15 years of the former uniform.
ML Nandhika Varavarn, the airline's vice-president for corporate communications, said: "This is a big change for us and we wanted to create an awareness by launching the new uniform at BIFW 2011. And for this drastic change, we chose Polpat Asavaprapha, who's one of Thailand's avant-garde fashion designers and the right man to create chic uniform for our young frontline staff, who are mostly around 25."
Other international airlines also have leading fashion designers taking on this task, ML Nandhika noted. As for the staff, it makes them feel proud to be working with Bangkok Airways and wearing the designer clothing.
"Travel is about lifestyle, fashion is also lifestyle," she said of the new uniform project. "The collaboration with the Asava fashion house goes along with our travel-in-style concept."