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Fact Check: The History Behind Malaysian Airlines (MAS) Stewardesses Uniform We Should Know

Pictures: Convergence by Malaysian Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB), CityPNG

Stewards and stewardesses are like passengers’ companions while on the plane. They are always ready to help everyone with a smile on their face. If someone panics before or during the journey, they will be by your side to make things better. Sometimes, with their smile, it helps.

Aside from their friendliness and professionalism, flight attendants are pleasing to look at. We can’t deny that stewards and stewardesses are a good-looking bunch. Not only that, but their uniforms reflect the country’s identity.

Therefore, have you ever wondered about the origin behind their attires?

A brief history of MAS uniform

Before Singapore was separated from Malaysia, Malaysia-Singapore Airlines (MSA) existed in 1968. For the cabin crew’s uniforms, a French designer, Couturier Pierre Balmain, was behind the sarong kebaya idea.

The borders from the edges of the batik fabric were added around the hem, neck and cuffs. This addition completed the traditional look.


Picture: Condé Nast Traveler

Stewardesses wore the sarong kebaya until today

A designer from Malaysia, Andy Chiew, developed Malaysia Airlines’ first official uniform. His design ranked first among nine designs made. The uniform came in two colours: brown and green. It depended on the attendant’s rank.


Picture: Poison Apple

Furthermore, MAS introduced its sarong kebaya uniform for female attendants. The School of Fashion at the Mara University of Technology (UiTM) designed the attire by adding bamboo patterns and Malaysian flowers like cempaka, jasmine and hibiscus leaves.

Interestingly, they added Sarawakian geometric patterns on the lapels and sleeve edges. Hijabi flight attendants wore light green shawls on their heads. Additionally, male flight attendants wore simple grey jackets.


Picture: Twitter Malaysia Airports

The uniform evolved from its first design in 1972 to 1991 with different coloured floral motifs. However, the essence remained.


Picture: Convergence by Malaysian Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB)

How to differentiate the flight attendant’s rank?

Every steward and stewardess has different positions. To differentiate them, we can look at the colour of their uniform.

Generally, this is what MAS female flight attendants wear:

Red with yellow flowers (Inflight Supervisors)

Chief Stewardesses (Green with pink flowers)

Leading Stewardesses (Green with pink flowers)

Flight Stewardesses (Green with pink flowers)

Ground front liners (Green with magenta flowers)


Picture: Twitter Malaysia Airlines

Sources: Poison Apple, Condé Nast Traveler, Convergence by Malaysian Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB)

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