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The Prince's Foundation and YNAP partner on The Modern Artisan initiative

Lauretta Roberts
13 November 2019

The Prince's Foundation and luxury fashion group YOOX NET-A-PORTER (YNAP) have joined forces on an initiative to equip young artisans with the skills needed to create luxury fashion in today's digital-led world.

The Modern Artisan is an extension of the existing relationship between HRH The Prince of Wales, President of The Prince’s Foundation, and YNAP Chairman and CEO, Federico Marchetti.

It brings together Italian and British students who 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 and will be launched next year in celebration of YNAP’s 20th anniversary. In a group first, the collection will be sold across all four YNAP 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.

Italian students 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.

In the meantime 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.


The Prince of Wales and Federico Marchetti

Jacqueline Farrell, Education Director for The Prince’s Foundation at Dumfries House, said: “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. 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.”

YOOX NET-A-PORTER GROUP Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Federico Marchetti, added: “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.

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