Woolly jumper Max Whitlock shows off skills to royal audience


Olympic star Max Whitlock showed off his gymnastic talents in a woollen suit for the Prince of Wales and fashion industry figures at a conference staged by the Campaign for Wool.

The double gold medal winner spun on his hands on a table wearing a woollen suit specially designed by Sir Paul Smith to cheers from delegates.

Charles later posed with supermodel David Gandy and Marks and Spencer boss Steve Rowe behind the other stars of the event - a flock of sheep.

The delegates discussed sustainability, animal welfare and future aims of the industry and were invited to sign the Dumfries House Wool Declaration - a commitment to protect the environment and uphold best practice across the production and trading of wool products.

Charles, who is known as the Duke of Rothesay when in Scotland, addressed the gathering as patron of the campaign, launched in 2010 to promote wool products in response to low prices paid to British farmers.

He called for hundreds of people involved in the production, fashion and retail of wool to sign up to the declaration.

Since the campaign started, wool prices have risen and there is "generally higher morale" in the industry, the prince added.

He said he was "proud" to endorse the declaration and hoped to attract a "tidal wave" of support, also announcing he will continue as campaign patron for a further five years.

"I could only say I would love to see many hundreds of growers, brokers, spinners, designers, fashion houses, manufacturers, retailers and others all following your lead by making and embracing the same public commitment," Charles told the audience.

"In so doing, I believe they will position themselves as good citizens of the wool business, with what I hope will quickly become a public and well-recognised seal of approval."

Sir Paul told the conference at Dumfries House in Cumnock, East Ayrshire, he "fell in love with wool" as a young designer.

He urged producers to create more woollen sportswear, saying it can be developed as lightweight and showerproof, which he demonstrated by having a glass of water thrown at his suit by Campaign for Wool chairman Nicholas Coleridge, president of Conde Nast International, before introducing Whitlock.

The conference also held the first public screening of the documentary Slowing Down Fast Fashion by Blur bassist Alex James.

A kilted Charles hosted a dinner with fashion industry figures on Thursday and posed for photos with Gandy, the face of M&S, which is supporting the campaign.