Charles' designs on women: Why the Prince of Wales is searching for a fashion superstar

Watch:Prince Charles launches sustainable fashion collection

Prince Charles has announced a search for the next designers of luxury womenswear, as part of his commitment to sustainable fashion.

The future king, 72, is not usually associated with high-end design, but his foundation has partnered with Yoox Net-A-Porter for the second year in a row, to give recent graduates the opportunity to bring a luxury line to market.

Applications have opened for UK graduates for the Modern Artisan, a 10-month paid training programme in responsible design and luxury textile craftsmanship.

The successful cohort will spend four months in London at the Yoox Net-A-Porter headquarters, COVID-19 restrictions dependent, before travelling to Scotland where they will live, work, and train at Dumfries House headquarters in Ayrshire, which is the base for the Prince's Foundation.

The British students will be joined by Italian graduates who have won spots on the scheme and they will learn luxury small batch production skills as well as how to bring their ideas to life with hand-making techniques.

To view this content, you'll need to update your privacy settings.
Please click here to do so.
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 16:  Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales tour the new Tech Hub, with British Fashion Council Chief Executive Caroline Rush and Chief Executive of Yoox Net-a-Porter Group Federico Marchetti at the Yoox Net-a-Porter Group offices on May 16, 2018 in London England. (Photo by Henry Nicholls - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Charles and Camilla touring the new Tech Hub, with British Fashion Council Chief Executive Caroline Rush and Chief Executive of Yoox Net-a-Porter Group Federico Marchetti at the Yoox Net-a-Porter Group in 2018. (Henry Nicholls - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 16:  Prince Charles, Prince of Wales visits the new Tech Hub, with Chief Executive of Yoox Net-a-Porter Group Federico Marchetti, at the Yoox Net-a-Porter Group offices on May 16, 2018 in London England. (Photo by Henry Nicholls - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Charles visiting the new Tech Hub, with Chief Executive of Yoox Net-a-Porter Group Federico Marchetti in 2018. (Henry Nicholls - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Read more: Meet the sniffer Staffie who is keeping the royals safe

Last year's group designed a range of clothes including a women's suit in Prince of Wales check, organic silk blouses and cashmere dresses.

The focus was on using high-quality materials, with cashmere and wool sourced from within Scotland and silk from Italy.

Pieces were made with the intention that they would be passed on through the generations, coming with their own specific care and repair instructions.

Charles is known for his unwillingness to throw anything away, preferring to patch up and repair what can be mended. He has worn the same pair of shoes, repaired and resoled, for decades, and has been pictured in the same coat in recent years that he wore back in the 1980s.

To view this content, you'll need to update your privacy settings.
Please click here to do so.
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 16: (L-R) Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Federico Marchetti, CEO YOOX NET-A-PORTER GROUP, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and Alison Loehnis, President of NET-A-PORTER & MR PORTER departing from The Prince Of Wales And Duchess Of Cornwall's visit to the Yoox Net-a-Porter Tech Hub at White City Place on May 16, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
Charles and Camilla at the Yoox Net-a-Porter Tech Hub at White City Place in 2018. (Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

Read more: Northern Irish town where Queen has official residence receives royal status

Speaking about the work of the trainees last year, Charles told Vogue: "It was fascinating to see what they’ve been able to do and how their skills have improved; because what was so difficult for them at the beginning has now become almost second nature.

"I felt very proud indeed of what they’ve been able to produce. There are some very beautiful pieces, and I will be interested to see how this collection goes and what the reaction is.

"But the great thing is that now they’re all either setting up their own businesses or going on in different ways. And this is why we need to help develop these skills, because they go on to be really valuable members of the fashion community."

Some of the pieces from the first collection were around the £800 mark, putting it firmly in the luxury sphere.

The new cohort will start in September and the programme will come to an end in 2022. The first collection was released in November 2020 so there could be a new set of garments at the same time in 2022.

Applications have opened and are being accepted until the end of June.

Watch: PrincessDiana's designer recalls her famous debut and that little black dress