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Prince Charles calls for an end to the ‘trend of throw-away clothing’

Written by on 5 November 2020

The Prince of Wales has called on shoppers and manufacturers to help stop the “extraordinary trend of throw-away clothing” during an interview with fashion bible British Vogue.

Prince Charles, who is well-known for his double-breasted suits and for sending his clothes to be mended rather than throwing them away, joked about his timeless dress sense during an interview with the magazine’s editor-in-chief Edward Enninful.

When asked where his own “sense of style” came from, Prince Charles replied: “I thought I was like a stopped clock – I’m right twice every 24 hours. But… I’m very glad you think it has style. I mind about detail and colour combinations.”

Image:
A new photo of Prince Charles has been taken by fashion photographer Nick Knight

He added: “I happen to be one of those people who’d get shoes – or any item of clothing – repaired if I can, rather than just throw it away.

“When I was a child, we used to take our shoes down to the cobbler in Scotland and would watch with fascination as he ripped the soles off and then put new soles on.”

A new photograph of the prince also features in the December issue of the magazine which goes on sale on Friday. It was taken by fashion photographer Nick Knight, who also photographed the prince with the Queen to mark her 90th birthday.

The interview is part of a push by the prince to encourage everyone to think more carefully about what they buy and how their clothes are made, and promote better training within the textile industries.

More from Prince Charles

Students from the Modern Artisan Project, a fashion training programme co-founded by the Prince’s Foundation, will launch a clothing collection later this month with sustainability at its core.

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Prince Charles: ‘We’re at the last hour’

In the interview the prince says the “British fashion textile sector is of enormous importance” and many of the students trained in high-end fashion and sewing skills by the foundation were “snapped up” by firms working in the textile sector.

He added: “But it seems to me there are huge opportunities, particularly now, within the whole sustainable fashion sector, to counter this extraordinary trend of throw-away clothing or throw-away everything, frankly.”

Asked what the “new normal” looked like for him during the pandemic, Charles went on to say: “The consumer has immense power in deciding where to buy from, and the best companies will lead the way, we hope, in demonstrating that if you follow the right principles of operation, not only are you moving more and more towards net zero but also you’re removing pollution from supply chains.”

He gave the example of how around 30 years ago he set firms who have a royal warrant to supply him goods an ultimatum to conform to a set of environmental requirements, or lose their special status.

He said there were “howls of protest” but he remained firm: “So of course, they went away, looked at their supply chains, looked at the way they did things. Lo and behold, they came back and said, ‘Well, actually, it’s saved us money to do it in a better way’.”

According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, clothing production has approximately doubled in the last 15 years, partly due to the rise of fast fashion, where companies mass produce high street versions of catwalk trends at a low cost.

The textiles industry uses 98 million tonnes of non-renewable resources a year, having an huge impact on the environment.