Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 6 December 2019

Prince of Wales to support fashion talent in new partnership with Yoox

Students will seek inspiration from Leonardo da Vinci and receive training at Dumfries House in Scotland

Charles, Prince of Wales with Yoox chairman and CEO Federico Marchetti
Charles, Prince of Wales with Yoox chairman and CEO Federico Marchetti

The Yoox Net-a-Porter Group (YNAP) has announced a major new project in conjunction with The Prince’s Foundation, to help support emerging talent in the fashion industry. As part of this unique partnership, entitled the Modern Artisan Project, the two formidable organisations have come together with the aim of helping fashion students gain a vital first step into the hard-to-crack luxury market.

The initiative will task 12 students from Italy and Britain with designing and manufacturing a high-end capsule collection for both men and women, to be sold across all four YNAP companies: Net-a-Porter, The Outnet, Mr Porter and Yoox. Profits will go to support The Prince’s Foundation.

Ambitious in scale, the project consists of two parts, the first of which will invite six students hand-picked from the prestigious Politecnico di Milano in Italy to design the garments. To coincide with the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci this year, the students will draw on the Renaissance master’s legacy as inspiration, reinterpreting elements and ideas into their final designs. As part of the process, the students will also have access to YNAP’s invaluable market knowledge, and will be able to use data-driven insight to mould the collection to customers’ wants.

Modern Artisan students with Charles, Prince of Wales and Federico Marchetti at The Prince's Foundation 
Modern Artisan students with Charles, Prince of Wales and Federico Marchetti at The Prince's Foundation

The second part of the project deals with the production of the collection, which will be done by six British graduates. Overseen by The Prince’s Foundation, the students will receive four months’ intensive training at the Foundation’s headquarters, Dumfries House in Ayreshire, Scotland. There, they will be tutored to handle demanding materials such as silk, cashmere and wool to a standard and finish that will pass scrutiny by experts and customers alike. Envisioned to help celebrate the rich heritage of both Italian and British craftsmanship, the Prince’s Foundation and YNAP will both be on hand to guide and support the students at every step.

That this project has come about at all is all the more remarkable given the two very different figures behind it. On one side is entrepreneur, chairman and chief executive of YNAP Federico Marchetti, while on the other is Charles, Prince of Wales. This unlikely pairing came about through a shared belief in sustainability and the continuation of skills. Marchetti is the man behind the Net-a-Porter Vanguard scheme, which offers a vital platform for emerging designers, while Prince Charles established his Prince’s Foundation in 1976, to help underprivileged and vulnerable young people (between the ages of 11 and 30) gain experience and skills that will help secure future work.

As Jacqueline Farrell, education director for The Prince’s Foundation at Dumfries House, explains: “At The Prince’s Foundation, we deliver education programmes to thousands of people every year inspired by the vision of the Prince of Wales. Sustainability is at the heart of everything we do, so we are proud to have partnered with the Yoox Net-a-Porter Group to deliver this truly innovative training programme. This project is the culmination of our Future Textiles initiative, which starts by giving school pupils an introduction to the textile industry and goes right through to the Modern Artisan project, which offers an inspiring progression route to any young person wishing to enter the fashion and textile industry.”

Marchetti adds: “Designed in Italy and crafted in the UK, the Modern Artisan collection will be an important expression of how talent and technology can work across boundaries and borders. This project, part of a long-term partnership between [YNAP] and The Prince’s Foundation, will help equip a new generation of skilled men and women to fuse traditional craft with digitally infused creativity – and, importantly, to do so sustainably, following the example of the Prince of Wales, who has dedicated the last 40 years to building a more sustainable future.”

Once launched, the project will be exhibited at the Michelangelo Foundation for Creativity and Craftsmanship, as part of the Homo Faber showcase in Venice, focusing on European craftsmanship, while the collection will go on sale in mid-2020.

Updated: November 17, 2019 11:40 AM

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