The Prince’s Foundation and YOOX NET-A-PORTER GROUP have launched a unique project; The Modern Artisan. The collaboration is designed to equip young artisans with the skills to succeed in a fast-paced digital landscape and produce luxury apparel collections to the highest standards.
The evolution of an established relationship between HRH The Prince of Wales, President of The Prince’s Foundation, and YOOX NET-A-PORTER GROUP Chairman and CEO, Federico Marchetti, the partnership unites two specially selected groups of students and recent graduates in an Anglo-Italian alliance that explores what it means to be a Modern Artisan today.
Celebrating the marriage of artisanal textile and data-driven design expertise with high-end sustainable manufacturing at its heart, the students will be supported through the process of designing, manufacturing and bringing to market a luxury Autumn/Winter capsule collection of menswear and womenswear. The collection will have sustainability at its core, reflecting the shared values of HRH The Prince of Wales, The Prince’s Foundation and YOOX NET-A-PORTER GROUP.
The collection will be launched next year in celebration of YOOX NET-A-PORTER GROUP’s 20th anniversary. In a Group first, the collection will be sold across all four YOOX NET-A-PORTER GROUP brands (YOOX, NET-A-PORTER, MR PORTER and THE OUTNET). Profits from the sale of the collection will be donated to The Prince’s Foundation to support its charitable work.
Six Italian students selected from leading design school, Politecnico di Milano, will design the collection, drawing inspiration from both the convergence of art and science in the work of Italian polymath Leonardo Da Vinci, in the 500th anniversary year of his death, and the rich heritage of British and Italian textile craftsmanship. The design process, supported by the Politecnico’s Fashion in Process (FiP) research laboratory, will be informed by exclusive access to YOOX NET-A-PORTER GROUP’s extensive data insights to identify long-term customer design preferences.
While the Italian artisans are designing the collection, The Prince’s Foundation will work with six graduates from the United Kingdom to take part in a specially designed four-month training course in luxury small batch production skills designed to help them gain employment in the industry. During the course, the graduates will develop the expertise to handle wool, cashmere and silk fabrics to ensure garment finishes meet the requirements of the luxury market. This training will equip the students with the skills needed to manufacture the collection at Dumfries House, the headquarters of The Prince’s Foundation in Ayrshire, Scotland.
“At The Prince’s Foundation, we deliver education programmes to thousands of people every year inspired by the vision of HRH The Prince of Wales,” said Jacqueline Farrell, Education Director for The Prince’s Foundation at Dumfries House.
“Sustainability is at the heart of everything we do so we are proud to have partnered with 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.” – Jacqueline Farrell, Education Director for The Prince’s Foundation at Dumfries House
YOOX NET-A-PORTER GROUP Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Federico Marchetti, said: “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 YOOX NET-A-PORTER 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 HRH The Prince of Wales who has dedicated the last 40 years to building a more sustainable future.”
Throughout the project, the two groups of trainee artisans will meet in cultural exchanges both in Milan and in Scotland, collaborating on product development to advance their collections from design stage through to final samples.Following the launch of the collection in mid-2020, The Modern Artisan project will be exhibited at the Michelangelo Foundation’s Homo Faber showcase of European craftsmanship.