Singapore Girl: One of the Amazing Brand Icons of our Time

singapore girl, design sojourn
Wallpaper Magazine has done a nice write up on the history of the Singapore Girl and her fashionable Sarong Kebaya uniforms. A true design classic that embodies all aspects of the Singapore Airlines brand, in fact, I would go as far as to say that “she” IS the brand.

In 1968, the former Malaysian Singapore Airlines called upon French Couturier Pierre Balmain to design uniforms for their cabin crew, with just a minor tweak to the collar in 1974 they have been in continuous service ever since. Balmain based his design on the traditional Malay sarong-kebaya, adding borders round the hem, neck and cuffs (cut from the edges of the traditional batik fabric) and altering the fit for ease of wear. Part of their continual allure is down to Balmain insisting that the uniforms were fully tailored (rather than off the peg), and to this day Singapore Airlines’s in-house tailors have a minimum of two fittings with each crew member and provide her with 4 new uniforms each year.

Do check out the rest of the article, as it has other interesting titbits like the fact that all Singapore Girls featured in the Ads are all working stewardesses that have been plucked directly from the aisles of the aeroplane. It is just astounding the amount of effort and work put into the brand image, so much so that when the stewardess leaves the organization some of the brand goodwill does rub off on her. You will have to date one to find out! I would consider “her” as one of the most amazing brand icons of our time.

4 Comments
  • HighwayBlogger

    August 25, 2007 at 1:11 pm Reply

    Definitely agreed. The ‘Singapore girl’ precedes Singapore’s reputation quite often in many places and is a definitive icon for Singapore Airlines as well as for Singapore itself.
    I understand that it has also turned out to be a great case study for many in the area of advertising and marketing.

  • Design Translator

    August 25, 2007 at 1:24 pm Reply

    For sure, every single aspect of the image is managed. It is testament to the training and selection processes of the stewardesses.
    Thanks for visiting and please do keep in touch.

  • malique

    August 27, 2007 at 11:41 pm Reply

    the singapore girl IS an identity on its own. a good classic example of identity thats long lasting.

  • Design Translator

    August 28, 2007 at 3:43 pm Reply

    Hi malique,
    Yes I totally agree with you. Thanks and I do look forward to hearing from you again.

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