Prince Charles talks about his personal style and sustainable fashion: 'I can’t bear any waste'

By Heather Cichowski

Duchess Kate and Duchess Meghan are big supporters of ethical fashion brands. And when it comes to sustainability and the Royal Family, we can't forget about Prince Charles. He has focused on ways to protect the planet and eco-conscious initiatives and innovation for decades. That includes fashion!

During a rare interview with British Vogue, the Prince of Wales opened up about sustainable style and his forthcoming collection with The Modern Artisan enterprise.

Charles spoke with British Vogue Editor-in-Chief Edward Enninful in a video call about The Modern Artisan, his textile training project at Dumfries House in Scotland which focuses on high-end fashion and sewing skills.

The students, who are also linked with those studying at Italy's Politecnico di Milano, will launch a collection of menswear and womenswear called Yoox Net-a-Porter for The Prince's Foundation.

Charles opened up about seeing the full collection after not having visited the students since the beginning of the year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"I felt very proud indeed of what they've been able to produce," he said. "There are some very beautiful pieces, and I will be interested to see how this collection goes and what the reaction is."

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His Royal Highness also discussed the importance of carrying on traditional skills, including embroidery, sewing and cutting, to the next generation, and how that goes with the interest in sustainable fashion.

"It seems to me there are huge opportunities, particularly now, within the whole sustainable fashion sector, to counter this extraordinary trend of throwaway clothing – or throwaway everything, frankly," he said of the work the ateliers are doing at Dumfries House.

The Duke of Cornwall also chatted about his "Buy once, buy well" mantra.

"I'm one of those people who hate throwing anything away," he said. "Hence, I'd rather have them maintained, even patched if necessary, than to abandon them."

In the interview, Charles (pictured with Duchess Meghan's mother, Doria Ragland) discussed the suit he wore to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's 2018 royal wedding. The look from Anderson & Sheppard dates from 1984. Photo: © OWEN HUMPHREYS/AFP via Getty Images

The 71-year-old addressed how aging corresponds to the philosophy. "The difficulty is, as you get older, you tend to change shape, and it’s not so easy to fit into the clothes.

"I can't bear any waste, including food waste; I'd much rather find another use," he continued. "Which is why I've been going on for so long about the need for a circular economy, rather than a linear one where you just make, take and throw away."

PHOTOS: Sustainable fashion brands Duchess Kate and Duchess Meghan love

In addition to the forthcoming Yoox Net-a-Porter for The Prince's Trust Foundation collection, designers Vin & Omi are producing textiles made out of nettles collected at Highgrove (the Gloucestershire residence of the Prince of Wales and Duchess Camilla) and Charles launched the Sustainable Markets Council, a global alliance to decarbonize sectors.

Prince William has also inherited his father's passion for the environment. The search for the first winners of the Duke of Cambridge's Earthshot Prize kicked off at the start of the month. The prize, which is dubbed "the most prestigious environment prize in history," seeks to solve the world's greatest environmental problems by 2030.


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