Charles' designs on women: Why the Prince of Wales is searching for a fashion superstar
Watch: Prince Charles launches sustainable fashion collection
Prince Charles has announced a search for the next designers of luxury womenswear, as part of his commitment to sustainable fashion.
The future king, 72, is not usually associated with high-end design, but his foundation has partnered with Yoox Net-A-Porter for the second year in a row, to give recent graduates the opportunity to bring a luxury line to market.
Applications have opened for UK graduates for the Modern Artisan, a 10-month paid training programme in responsible design and luxury textile craftsmanship.
The successful cohort will spend four months in London at the Yoox Net-A-Porter headquarters, COVID-19 restrictions dependent, before travelling to Scotland where they will live, work, and train at Dumfries House headquarters in Ayrshire, which is the base for the Prince's Foundation.
The British students will be joined by Italian graduates who have won spots on the scheme and they will learn luxury small batch production skills as well as how to bring their ideas to life with hand-making techniques.
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Last year's group designed a range of clothes including a women's suit in Prince of Wales check, organic silk blouses and cashmere dresses.
The focus was on using high-quality materials, with cashmere and wool sourced from within Scotland and silk from Italy.
Pieces were made with the intention that they would be passed on through the generations, coming with their own specific care and repair instructions.
Charles is known for his unwillingness to throw anything away, preferring to patch up and repair what can be mended. He has worn the same pair of shoes, repaired and resoled, for decades, and has been pictured in the same coat in recent years that he wore back in the 1980s.
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Speaking about the work of the trainees last year, Charles told Vogue: "It was fascinating to see what they’ve been able to do and how their skills have improved; because what was so difficult for them at the beginning has now become almost second nature.
"I felt very proud indeed of what they’ve been able to produce. There are some very beautiful pieces, and I will be interested to see how this collection goes and what the reaction is.
"But the great thing is that now they’re all either setting up their own businesses or going on in different ways. And this is why we need to help develop these skills, because they go on to be really valuable members of the fashion community."
Some of the pieces from the first collection were around the £800 mark, putting it firmly in the luxury sphere.
The new cohort will start in September and the programme will come to an end in 2022. The first collection was released in November 2020 so there could be a new set of garments at the same time in 2022.
Applications have opened and are being accepted until the end of June.
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