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Da Vinci Inspires YNAP’s Prince Charles-Backed Capsule

Prince Charles is many things: heir apparent to the British throne, a proponent of the “buy once [and] buy well” approach to fashion and now, through his charity The Prince’s Foundation, the patron of an 18-piece, sustainable collection of women’s wear and men’s wear.

The Yoox Net-a-Porter Group for The Prince’s Foundation capsule collection is the result of the Modern Artisans training program designed to fuse “traditional craftsmanship with digital tools such as data insights to create a new form of luxury with sustainability at its heart.”

Like Prince Charles himself, the collection prioritized longevity. Each style is equipped with a digital ID, providing care and repair recommendations, as well as the story behind the product, its materials and the artisans who designed and made it. 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. The collection prioritized natural and organic materials as well as end-of-roll fabrics, while eschewing synthetic fabrics.

Launched Thursday, the collection—consisting of 10 women’s wear and eight men’s wear items—is available from Net-a-Porter, Mr. Porter, Yoox and The Outnet. All profits will be donated to The Prince’s Foundation to enable the charity to develop and deliver training programs that help preserve traditional textile skills.

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 collection that marries formal lines and simple construction. Da Vinci’s knots feature throughout the collection. His studies of drapery inspired elements in the women’s styles, realized through folds, pleats, smocking, ties and bows. Meanwhile, the men’s wear references da Vinci’s technical studies of engineering and anatomy coupled with his fascination with architectural details.

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The Modern Artisan project, announced last November, guided trainee artisans through the process of bringing a luxury collection to market, combining training in data insights with sustainable practices and traditional production skills to equip the students for their future careers as artisans.

Six Italian students from design school Politecnico di Milano’s Fashion in Process research laboratory led the design for the collection. Meanwhile, British artisans underwent training in small-batch production skills at Dumfries House, the headquarters of The Prince’s Foundation in Ayrshire, Scotland, allowing them to craft the majority of the collection by hand in the estate’s Textile Training Centre. During the manufacturing process, they learned 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. In recognition of the skills they learned, participants received a Modern Apprenticeship Award in Heritage Textiles in partnership with Glasgow Clyde College.

“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 of The Prince’s Foundation at Dumfries House, said in a statement.

The long-term partnership between The Prince’s Foundation and Yoox Net-a-Porter Group will be showcased at Michelangelo Foundation’s Homo Faber in 2021.

This week, Yoox and Vogue Italia named U.K.-based start-up SaltyCo the winner of the first edition of the Vogue Yoox Challenge – The Future of Responsible Fashion, a project aiming to provide support and mentorship to designers, creatives and startups investing towards a more responsible and sustainable approach.

SaltyCo offers clothing and furniture textiles made with natural textile fibers from plants that grow in saltwater environments. The brand was conceived by four young students who specialized in Innovation Design Engineering, with the intent of preserving the limited resources of drinkable water present on the planet by leaving it to those who need it the most. In addition to distribution, communication and mentoring support, the startup will also receive a 50,000 euro ($59,106) award to fund its project.