Y-3 + Virgin Galactic

Y-3 + Virgin Galactic

In January this year Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic project took another step in the direction of finality by announcing a collaboration with Adidas Y-3 to create bespoke space apparel for their flight crew. Apparel aside, much (quite rightly) has been made of the project and more specifically about the $250,000 ticket price. But in truth, the price could be considered somewhat “a bargain”, as George Whitesides, Virgin Galactic CEO, states;

“The Russians charge NASA $70 million to go to the international space station,”

Well… not quite a bargain, but he does have a point.

Y-3 x Virgin Galactic Space Apparel space suit

While many see the Adidas associated Y-3 by Yohji Yamamoto as being more geared towards aesthetics rather than technology, this endeavor was one of highest scientific importance – after all, lives are potentially at stake.

Y-3 Virgin Galactic space apparel Dave Mackay boots

The result? Gone are the bulky white ‘Michelin man’ styed spacesuits of times past, and enter in a wetsuit-like streamlined black silhouette more akin to the ancient apparel of the Japanese Ninjitsu. Their creative freedom lies in the fact that this apparel isn’t being created for moonwalkers, but rather purely for the Virgin Galactic pilots who will not be exposed to space. Big difference. Senior director of Y-3, Lawrence Midwood asserts that the suits were designed with a “hero” aesthetic, giving the passengers confidence in the crew, while reifying the pilots own confidence in his own ability.



Aesthetics aside, each garment is custom made according to specific role requirements and are hence made to the exact measurements of each pilot for the best-fit possible. Emblazoned on the Y-3 x Virgin Galactic flight boot is Chief Pilot Dave Mackay’s moniker, highlighting the bespoke nature of the garments.

Much like the project itself – which hopefully will see passenger flights in 2017 – there is still much work to be done on the more technical aspects of the suit. One thing is certain, if the Virgin Airways adverts are anything to go by, when the flight crew eventually stride towards SpaceShipTwo for the first official Virgin Galactic flight, people will ‘Marvel’ at the heroic cinematography brought to life in the real world.


Y-3 Virgin Galactic Apparel Lawrence Midwood

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