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Lessons from Prince Charles’ enterprise in sustainable fashion
With Kate and Meghan often considered the most fashion-conscious members of the Royal Family, it is perhaps surprising that Prince Charles is the royal launching a clothing line this season. A long-time advocate for environmentalism, Charles has collaborated on a sustainable capsule collection with Net-a-Porter to promote the “buy once, buy well” philosophy and raise awareness of the environmental damages caused by fast fashion.
The 71-year old royal’s entrance into the fashion world could not be timelier, as conversations concerning sustainability in the fashion industry are louder than ever. Due to be launched in Summer 2021, the Modern Artisan collection is a collaboration between Prince Charles’ charity, The Prince’s Foundation, and Net-a-Porter, with all profits going to The Prince’s Foundation. It will feature eight clothing items for men and ten for women and the line is focused on curating quality, classic pieces that will go the distance in your wardrobe.
The range is unsurprisingly marketed towards a more affluent, mature market:
Speaking to ‘The Telegraph’, the Prince stated that: “the fashion industry has an important role to play in helping to confront the environmental challenges that we face”.
Manufactured by English students and designed by Italian fashion students, the collaboration originated in a textile training program started by Prince Charles at Dumfries House, promoting traditional skills that are increasingly being side-lined due to the growth of fast fashion.
The range is unsurprisingly marketed towards a more affluent, mature market, so there will be few students who could fathom realistically owning any of the pieces. With the women’s check trouser suit retailing for an eyewatering £1,900, the collection starts from £395 for a women’s cable-knit cashmere turtleneck sweater. Other stand-out pieces include the padded cashmere bomber jacket which is £1250 and the double-breasted herringbone cashmere jumpsuit for £895.
Think about the reasons behind your purchase:
Seeing sustainable fashion marketed at this price point can be discouraging as while it’s great to see influential figures such as Prince Charles promoting a great cause, collections such as these are inaccessible to the vast majority of people. Rather than being disheartened, however, with some effort, it is entirely feasible to shop with environmental conscious on a budget. Here are my top tips for breaking away from fast fashion and curating a more sustainable closet:
Consider whether you do really need this. Especially in a time where social occasions are becoming increasingly rare, is this the time to be making impulse buys? Although the prospect of a new ASOS parcel landing at your door may seem like the only occasion to look forward to in these dire times, the environment and your bank account will thank you for cutting back on impractical purchases.
Think about the reasons behind your purchase. Retail therapy may be cheaper than actual therapy, but the environmental cost is high, so do you really want that overpriced neon bucket hat, or did you just have a bad day at university?
Consider a capsule wardrobe:
Remember that shopping second-hand is often a cheaper and more sustainable solution. Retailers such as Depop and eBay are great for affordable items that often still have the tags on. Shopping on websites such as these can be a great choice for incorporating more trend-led items into your wardrobe at a low cost, without the drawbacks of fast fashion. You’re also pretty much guaranteed to never turn up in a matching outfit, especially when it comes to vintage buys.
As we head towards Christmas and smaller businesses might be struggling to cover costs because of the impact of another national lockdown, try supporting sustainable businesses. Although these can be more expensive, they’re generally better quality than the likes of fast-fashion brands such as Pretty Little Thing and Missguided. The more demand there is for sustainably produced clothing, the more companies will take the leap so now’s the time to get on board.
Finally, consider a capsule wardrobe. Limiting your purchases to staple pieces that you know you’ll wear for a long time is both more cost-effective and environmentally friendly. If you don’t know where to begin, try making a Pinterest board of clothes you like to pinpoint your style and start streamlining your wardrobe.