A sustainable puffer jacket and vest designed by fashion brand P.E Nation is the latest uniform upgrade at Virgin Australia. The airline has enlisted the athleisure label to create a sporty cabin crew makeover inspired by Tasmania’s wilderness.
The Tassie Tux (that’s a black puffer slang to those on the Apple Isle) becomes a workplace wardrobe essential for flight crew bound to Tasmania from Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane starting this winter. While you won’t see them wearing the garments mid-flight; they are an option for all staff as they hit the tarmac during the off-season commute.
P.E Nation designers Claire Tregoning and Pip Edwards with Virgin Australia flight crew.
It’s been 12 years since Virgin Australia introduced a new uniform for its staff, the last time was with Project Runway Australia winner Juli Grbac in 2009.
In a departure from their usual adventure outerwear and gym bound pops of block colour, P.E Nation designers Pip Edwards and Claire Tregoning are opting for black essentials, with a cropped puffer jacket and long line puffer vest marking their debut relationship with the airline.
“Aligning with Virgin Australia made sense to us because they have a progressive customer mindset and they’re all about embracing the sustainability program,” says Tregoning.
“We always wanted to partner with an airline because travel is so much a part of our brand and a lot of what our label is about connects people to places and the outdoors. This is a dream come true for us,” says Tregoning.
The business partnership is launching on a flight from Melbourne to Hobart on Wednesday morning packed with passengers unaware of the surprise that also includes media guests as well as fashion and travel influencers.
Both designers will be on board the black-tie inspired sky event that comes with a curated menu including Brady’s Lookout aged ciders matched with handmade Tasmanian chocolates from Anvers Chocolate and a cheesy flight courtesy of Ashgrove Cheese.
In preparation for the launch, the Sydney-based designers have been busy embracing Hobart’s pre-winter chill by climbing Mt Summit, swimming in icy cold lakes and posing on the tarmac in their P.E Nation attire.
The business deal is a lucrative one for P.E. Nation as it continues to position itself globally with more than 600 stockists around the world.
“Aligning with Virgin Australia made sense to us because they have a progressive customer mindset which we love, and they’re all about embracing the sustainability program, which we are also committed to doing with the product we make,” Tregoning says.
Made from recycled polyester and fitted with metal trims and recycled labels means the puffer jacket and vest are quintessentially P.E. Nation in their mission to do better in fashion.
According to Virgin Australia’s chief marketing officer Libby Minogue, it made sense to partner with an Australian fashion label who share a common vision for saving the planet.
“They’re sustainable, fashion conscious, on-trend and energetic – we have that energy in common,” says Minogue.
Last year, Virgin Australia announced a commitment to a target of Net Zero Emissions by 2050 following previous commitments to add more fuel-efficient MAX 8 and MAX10 aircrafts to their fleet which begin arriving in 2023.
Virgin Australia has seen a 20 per cent increase in demand for flights to Tasmania since 2019, and now fly direct from Brisbane and to Hobart and Launceston twice daily. “It’s one of our best-kept secrets,” Minogue says. “Tasmania during the off-season is the time to go. Whether it’s for food and wine, outdoor adventure and getting into the wilderness, it’s becoming a popular destination for Australians in warmer climates.”
For now, the P.E Nation uniform pieces are strictly reserved for staff, but according to Minogue they’re working out the logistics of making them available for purchase.
“We’ve had such great feedback about the jackets which has been amazing,” Minogue says. “And right now we’re working out what we can do next so watch this space.”
Jane Rocca is travelling on this trip courtesy of Virgin Australia.
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