Chris Jepson is often found bustling through the doors of Virgin Atlantic’s training centre with arms full of the famous red uniforms. For the last 31 years she has worked as a seamstress for the airline, she’s shared her story…
It’s Chris’ job to keep everyone at Virgin Atlantic looking their best – and that keeps her incredible busy. It’s not just the red cabin crew uniforms that are Chris’ responsibility but everyone’s, including pilots, engineers, Clubhouse teams and even special uniforms for hot climates. But this wasn’t her first choice of career; she actually has a degree in chemical engineering.
“After maternity leave, the family alterations business was so busy that I left my engineering job to help out,” she says. “Tailoring and engineering have a lot in common. You need to be logical, work things out, use mathematics and do things in sequence.”
The business was a real family effort when they started out with Chris’ mum doing the sewing before she joined and her dad acting as delivery boy (“or Ops Director as he preferred to be called!”) Now Chris runs the business on her own and just works on Virgin Atlantic uniforms, which keeps her busy enough but also gives her time to spend with her grandchildren.
It’s not always an easy job though, Chris admits that shortening the sleeves on the red female jackets can be complicated. “The buttonholes are very complex and if they need to be moved it’s quite a job,” she explains. “The other difficult job, for a different reason, is sewing the braiding on the cap peak of our Captain’s hats. That really hurts your fingers.”
The job comes with its own challenges too – Chris says she can never escape a stray red thread. “Despite constant hoovering and sweeping they get trodden everywhere. Even when I go out to restaurants, my friends are always picking red threads off me!”
Find out more about the uniforms on the Virgin Atlantic website.