Prince Charles has long been a proponent of honing artisanal practices, a commitment to craft and sustainable manufacturing. At Dumfries House in East Ayrshire, Scotland – a stately home set in 2,000 sprawling acres of land, which is part of the community-focused charity The Prince’s Foundation, the The Kuanyshev Traditional & Craft Skills Centre encourages students to learn artisanal, transferable skills, including stone masonry, plumbing and rural woodcraft. Over in its Textiles Training Centre – housed in a woodland-surrounding converted sawmill – students spanning the ages of eight and 70 are educated in sewing, pattern drafting, plus woven and knitted textiles.

Textile skills form the focus of Modern Artisan, a partnership between The Prince’s Foundation and Yoox Net-a-porter Group announced today. In mid-2020, this collaboration will culminate as a craftsmanship-focused men’s and women’s capsule collection, designed and manufactured by a group of students and recent graduates. The Modern Artisan collection will bridge the gap between artisanal prowess and the data-driven expertise that Yoox Net-a-porter Group is renowned for. It will also celebrate the fashion retailer’s 20th anniversary. For the first time, the collection will be sold across all four of Yoox Net-a-porter Group’s 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.

Portrait of HRH The Prince of Wales, Yoox Net-a-porter Group’s chairmain and CEO Federico Marchetti.

HRH The Prince of Wales, Yoox Net-a-porter Group’s chairman and CEO Federico Marchetti. Photography: Mike Wilkinson

At the core of the partnership is The Prince’s Foundation and Yoox Net-a-porter Group’s commitment to equipping young people with skills which bridge the online and artisanal realm. ‘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 borders,’ explains Yoox Net-a-porter Group’s chairman and CEO Federico Marchetti. In an Anglo-Italian alliance, six students selected from the country’s largest design university in Italy, Politecnico di Milano, will design the collection. Six UK graduates will then manufacture the collection at Dumfries House. While in Scotland, they will embark on a four-month training course in luxury small batch production and become versed in the properties of luxurious natural fabrics, including wool, cashmere and silk.

In a double commemorative nod, the aesthetic of the Modern Artisan’s collection will draw on the elements of art and science prescient in the work of Leonardo Da Vinci. 2019 marks the 500th anniversary of the death of the creative polymath, who indulged in painting, engineering, anatomy and architecture. In a scientific spin, pieces in the offering will be informed by exclusive access to Yoox Net-a-porter Group’s impressive data insights, which analyse long-term customer design preferences.

‘The Modern Artisan offers an inspiring progression route to any young person wishing to enter the fashion and textile industry,’ says Jacqueline Farrell, education director for The Prince’s Foundation at Dumfries House. We can’t wait to watch them weave the threads of their journey. §