Journal 12 November 2020
The Prince's Foundation and Yoox Net-a-Porter launch The Modern Artisan Collection
The Prince’s Foundation’s emphasis on sustainability and its commitment to training the next generation of skilled practitioners for the fashion and textiles industry have been crystalised through the launch of a sustainable and ready-to-wear luxury capsule collection designed by students in Italy and manufactured by trainee artisans at Dumfries House.
Through its partnership with international online fashion retailer Yoox Net-A-Porter [YNAP] to bring to life the cross-Europe apparel production programme The Modern Artisan, the charity has demonstrated its unwavering dedication to conserving traditional skills while providing valuable industry insight to its trainees.
“The Modern Artisan project is a unique collaboration that champions sustainability and prepares trainees with the skills and confidence needed to gain employment in the fashion and textile industry, or start their own business. I am very much looking forward to seeing what the artisans do next and am confident that each and every one of them will use the skills they have developed throughout The Modern Artisan project to make a positive impact on the fashion and textile industry and help preserve these invaluable heritage craft skills.” – Jacqueline Farrell, Education Director for The Prince’s Foundation at Dumfries House.
The Modern Artisan project was born out of a mutual interest in sustainable fashion between HRH The Prince of Wales, president of The Prince’s Foundation, and Federico Marchetti, chairman and CEO of YNAP. Six Italian students from Politecnico di Milano led the design of the collection while four British artisans undertook training in small batch productions skills at Dumfries House before crafting the majority of the collection by hand in the estate’s Textile Training Centre. During the manufacturing process, the artisans learnt advanced technical production skills such as industrial sewing, pattern drafting and quality control, while also developing the expertise to handle wool, cashmere and silk fabrics to ensure garment finishes meet the requirements of the luxury market. These skills have been formally recognised with the manufacturing artisans completing a Modern Apprenticeship Award in Heritage Textiles in partnership with Glasgow Clyde College.
The collection design, carried out during the 500th anniversary year of the death of Leonardo da Vinci, took inspiration from the convergence of art and science in da Vinci’s work. The result is a sophisticated collection that marries formal lines and simple construction. Da Vinci’s knots are a feature throughout the collection. His studies of drapery inspired the womenswear, realised through folds, pleats, smocking, ties and bows. The menswear references da Vinci’s technical studies of engineering and anatomy, and his fascination with architectural details.
“I’ve long been inspired by uniting seemingly opposing worlds. Designed in Italy and crafted in the UK, this truly sustainable luxury collection illustrates the vast possibilities of cross-border collaborations to tackle environmental challenges and train creative talents in these uncertain times and beyond.” – Federico Marchetti, chairman, YNAP
Sustainability is at the very heart of the collection, reflecting the shared values of The Prince’s Foundation whose President, HRH The Prince of Wales, has championed action for a sustainable future for more than four decades. Cashmere and wool were sourced from Scottish textiles firm Johnstons of Elgin while fully-traceable, organic eco silk was sourced from Centro Seta in Italy. Natural and organic materials were prioritised, as was end-of-roll fabric, and no synthetic fabrics were used in the collection.
The resulting collection celebrates both the rich heritage and future of British and Italian textile craftsmanship. Comprising ten pieces of womenswear and eight pieces of menswear, it is available across all four YNAP online stores, giving the artisans a unique opportunity to debut their work to 4.3million customers.
All profits from the sale of the collection will be donated to The Prince’s Foundation to enable the charity to develop and deliver training programmes that will help preserve traditional textile skills.
The Yoox Net-a-Porter for The Prince’s Foundation collection will be available at Mrporter.com, Net-a-Porter.com, Theoutnet.com and Yoox.com from 12 November.