But where fashion trends have to be seized quickly, these suits are the product of two years of extensive research. The partnership between the athletic apparel giant and the spaceflight company was somewhat expected, given that Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank and Virgin Group’s founder Richard Branson have been friends for over a decade. Having described his vision of commercial space travel, Branson approached Plank’s company with the task of designing a uniform that could be worn by tourists on their commercial spaceflights.
And if you thought it would be some kind of shabby uniform, you can think again. At the unveiling which was held at the iFLY venue in Yonkers, NY, the models showcasing the flashy suits presented something that wouldn’t look out of place on an influencer’s body during Fashion Week. Jumpsuits are in now, yes?
The outfit includes a base layer, spacesuit and boots. The base layer is something you’d expect to see on runners during the colder seasons. Under Armour have retrofit the UA RUSH, mineral-infused fabric that is typically designed for athletes, creating top and bottoms that help with temperature regulation and sweat management. It comes in dark blue with gold accents that are inspired by rays of sunlight.
According to the athletic company, each spacesuit iteration underwent rigorous testing with pilots, spaceship engineers, medical professionals and astronaut instructors. Consequently, the uniform is kitted out with a number of functional features such as the integrated communication system, as well as a number of pockets. There’s even a clear pocket on the jacket’s inside to cater for a photo of a loved one.
As for the boots, they boast a lightweight design that differs from the chunky moon boots you might have been expecting. These shoes in contrast are more streamlined, inspired by the footwear of race car drivers.
Speaking to Fast Company, Plank said about the designs: “We started with understanding the sport, the needs of the athlete and the extreme conditions they will go through.” He added, “We saw it as an opportunity to overcome what others may have seen as problems with technology.”
Virgin Galactic chief astronaut instructor Beth Moses described the design to Fast Company, saying: “Suits of the past were made to perform a task, while this suit is to enjoy and savour space on your own terms in a bespoke way. The challenge was not to get too nitty-gritty and technical and to make sure the suit stays out of the way so people can savor their experience.”
With the uniform complete, it’s safe to say that Virgin Galactic is pushing to get its commercial spaceflights off the ground as soon as possible. While still preparing for its inaugural commercial flight, the company has faced numerous setbacks despite already sending its first passengers to the edge of space. With a wait list of more than 600 passengers from 58 countries who have already paid or put down deposits for a ride, they certainly won’t be scrambling to fill the aircraft.