Prince Charles talks sustainable fashion & his love of fashion with British Vogue

I know Prince Charles is still on a lot of people’s sh-t lists, and maybe he deserves to be there because of all of The Crown shenanigans and hate campaigns and his utter silence on the Sussexes. But! I still enjoy Charles, especially when he’s talking about interesting stuff which he’s passionate about. Charles is passionate about so much, and in such a real way. His older son play-acts his vague “interest” in various topics, whereas Charles is perfectly capable of speaking off-the-cuff, without notes, for hours on end about substantial issues involving the environment, the economy, the arts and yes, fashion.

Charles granted an exclusive interview to British Vogue, which was conducted by EIC Edward Enninful. The piece is lengthy and Charles speaks at times in these absolute monologue bricks about sustainable fashion and the environment, but it’s really interesting! It’s a great interview and I would suggest reading the entire thing. Some highlights:

His “Buy once, buy well” motto: “Well, I’m one of those people who hate throwing anything away. Hence, I’d rather have them maintained, even patched if necessary, than to abandon them. The difficulty is, as you get older, you tend to change shape, and it’s not so easy to fit into the clothes. I can’t bear any waste, including food waste; I’d much rather find another use. Which is why I’ve been going on for so long about the need for a circular economy, rather than a linear one where you just make, take and throw away – which is a tragedy, because inevitably we over-exploit natural resources that are rapidly depleting.

The idea for The Modern Artisan, a training program for high-end fashion & sewing skills: “Well, two years or three years ago, we went – my wife and I – to visit the Yoox Net-a-Porter headquarters. And that was when I met Federico Marchetti…Who I found very enjoyable. I said to him at one point, “You ought to come and see what we’re doing at Dumfries House,” because we’d started a textile training project in high-end fashion and sewing skills. As you know better than I, these things are in shorter and shorter supply, because the older generation are coming to the end of their working lives, and not enough attention has been paid – sadly, I’ve always felt – to vocational education. So I was talking to him about it. He came to Dumfries House, saw what we’re doing, we talked further – and that was where the idea came from, to link Italian design students at the Politecnico di Milano with students here in Scotland; that link with Italy is so critical, I think.

Maintaining & promoting British fashion: “Well, it’s absolutely critical, because the British fashion textile sector is of enormous importance. But the trouble is, it requires constant investment in young people and in the development of real skills. We were told when we first came to Dumfries House that nobody was interested in anything like textiles. And of course, when we contacted colleges and we got people together, it transpired that in fact there was huge interest; so we developed our atelier system to promote the traditional skills that are so vital – whether it’s embroidery or sewing or cutting or tailoring, all these things are in short supply. And a lot of the students we train here are snapped up by local firms – the ones that are left in the textile sector. But it seems to me there are huge opportunities, particularly now, within the whole sustainable fashion sector, to counter this extraordinary trend of throwaway clothing – or throwaway everything, frankly.

His personal style: “I thought I was like a stopped clock – I’m right twice every 24 hours. But no, I mean, I’m very glad you think it has style. I mind about detail and colour and things like that – and colour combinations. I’m lucky because I can find marvellous people who are brilliant makers of the things that I appreciate, and because of that, I try to keep them going for longer.

He wore an 1984 suit by Anderson & Sheppard to the Sussexes’ wedding: “I’ve considered [wearing a new suit]. But in the case of that particular morning coat, as long as I can go on getting into it, I only wear it a few times a year, in the summer, so obviously you want to keep those sorts of things going. But if I can’t fit into them, then I just have to have something new made. But I’m not sure quite how radically different they can be at my age.

Wardrobe maintenance: “Well, I’m lucky, because there are kind people who help with these things. But yes, 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. And that’s why I think, from an economic point of view, there are huge opportunities for people to set up small businesses involved with repair, maintenance and reuse. Which is one of the reasons I’ve tried here, at Dumfries House, to start a kind of thrift market for precisely that purpose, where you can bring things in – whether it’s electrical appliances or anything – to be mended. 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.

[From British Vogue]

I really enjoyed hearing about the projects he’s got in and around Dumfries House. His work there was highlighted in the documentary Charles at 70. Basically, Dumfries House is one of the grand properties of Scotland with an unrivaled collection of antique furniture. Charles and some investors organized the purchase of the estate and the collections therein. Now Charles uses that investment to revitalize the local Scottish economy around Dumfries, with work programs and training programs, including the textile/atelier training program he’s highlighting in this interview. It’s fascinating to see how Charles organizes this stuff and how his mind works. As for Charles’ personal fashion… his style was always seen as old-fashioned when he was younger, but now every man wants to dress like him, with beautifully cut suits and everything handmade, personalized and traditional.

Charles and Camilla visit Bank of England

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Backgrid, British Vogue.

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44 Responses to “Prince Charles talks sustainable fashion & his love of fashion with British Vogue”

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  1. Amy Bee says:

    Yeah, whatever Charles. British Vogue’s royal connection is why Edward Enniful threw Meghan under the bus.

    • Nev says:

      WORD UP.

    • Becks1 says:


    • MJM says:

      Yeah I’m thinking it was CH that flexed with Vogue and got Enniful scared. Charles didn’t want Meghan’s success to dim his eco fashion initiatives 🙄

    • L4frimaire says:

      I just can’t with them. We know why he’s suddenly got so interested in sustainable fashion, and it wasn’t because of coat dresses and hats.

    • Mignionette says:

      IMHO I feel like Enniful is a puppet Editor. I notice they allowed him to settle in and thereafter he is now being subtlety dictated to by the establishment.

      The project with Chuck is not it. I do think that Chuck thought that he’d have the same success as Meghan which again goes back to his petty jealousies. Would be interesting to see what the circulation figures for that issue were….

    • MA says:

      I guess it’s unfair to expect Enniful to sacrifice his career and not cozy up to the royals but I’m side eyeing him going forward if he wants to have it both ways. The British Vogue black panther issue was really a a joke, literally cosplaying social justice activism while highlighting the Queen and the royal family in the same breath. You want to elevate the Queen and the royal family, the embodiment of white supremacy, responsible for the enslavement and colonization of black and brown people all over the world? No thanks, stick to fashion and not co-opting an actual radical movement in AMERICA started by people who stood against everything the British royal family represents.

  2. Julie says:

    If Meghan said any of this she’d be written of “woke virtue signalling” and out of touch as to how difficult it is for a poor mother of three to avoid fast fashion or some such thing. Oh and there’d be an inventory of all the staff she keeps to maintain her clothing and how many private flights she’s taken in the last five years. Old white man privilege suits Vogue, I guess.

    • Myra says:

      This. I have no interest for Charles. He stood by silently when Meghan got bashed for editing a fashion magazine and during the release of the smart-set capsule, but now here is promoting his personal fashion in the same magazine. No comments from the British media and none from the loose-lipped palace sources on true royalty vs fashion royalty. No accusations of me-me-me, narcissism or invading his own privacy (despite Charles having sued for invasion of privacy).

  3. Zapp Brannigan says:

    “Well, I’m lucky, because there are kind people who help with these things”

    What an elegant way to foxtrot around having servants that the taxpayers pay for, better not alert the serfs that HRH does not darn his own socks.

    • Elizabeth says:

      Charles is lecturing about restraint when he and his family live in unfathomable luxury. Read about his wine collection or car collection sometime. He’s absolutely heedless of the vast gulf between his privilege and the lives of ordinary people — let alone the poor. I normally would love to hear someone talking about being environmentally conscious but from a British Royal it’s incredibly hypocritical.

      Not to mention, as other commentators have already pointed out, the double standard at play with Meghan and Charles’s complete failure to support her.

  4. Cecilia says:

    Charles is a flawed man (and that is putting it mildly 🙄) but you can’t deny his work. Im impressed that he stood his ground on the topic of climate change and the environment. And while william is trying to get credit for doing the bare minimum, charles has certainly built a level of credibility and expertise in this field. Im also impressed with the Prince’s Trust. So while im not personally a fan of him, i do think he is the right person to steer the monarchy in a more modern direction. Many people often forget that Charles is quite progressive in his ideas.

    • BayTampaBay says:

      I believe when all is said and done at the end of the day 50 years down the road from today, the Dumfries House revitalization project will be a bigger lasting legacy than The Prince’s Trust.

      • Cecilia says:

        Judging by what we’ve seen so far. It won’t be. The Prince’s Trust had an impact on real people. I doubt that earthshot will have the same effect as there have been similar initiatives out since the 90’s and very little has changed. And we are all familiar with kates work ethic lol.

      • BayTampaBay says:

        @Cecilia – What does “earthshot” have to do with the Dumfries House project?

      • Cecilia says:

        @baytampabay sorry i thought you were talking about the Cambs. But if anything the Dumfries house project supports my point. That Charles’s work actually manages to effect people positively while the Cambs projects fall on deaf ears

    • Betsy says:

      He’s a really interesting person to me because he is an incredibly flawed human who has some really incredible strengths, too. He really does put in the work, he really does know his issues – I mean he gets away with expressing stronger opinions than a professional might, but he’s at least done work whereas Willy has not.

    • Tigerlily says:

      @Cecilia. Well put and I agree with you.

  5. Savu says:

    I’m no Charles apologist, but I really enjoyed this. He IS genuinely passionate about so many things, it’s fun to see how he meets with these people who are top in their field, and says “we should create this project together”. He is NOT all talk (cough cough). And the idea of being a role model, so others buy well and maintain their clothes. I would love to see more independent clothiers set up repair shops so people can maintain the things they have. Let’s get some programs for BIPOC to learn these skills and get access to capital! And find a way to effectively market and promote buying well and repairing.

  6. Becks1 says:

    Norman Baker provided so much insider info re: Dumfries House that it really changed my perspective on it – how it was purchased, how Charles has thrown his weight around to get local councils to approve his plans, etc. I cant remember the details now but it was really eye-opening.

    As for what Charles is actually saying here – I can appreciate that he is knowledgeable about his causes and that he actually has things to say (rather than just vague statements like the Cambridges make constantly) and also think he was an ass to his first wife and he was pretty awful in terms of his silence to the Sussexes (but I honestly think that H&M are on good terms with him, so there was probably some support behind the scenes?)

    • Sofia says:

      I agree. Charles was absolutely awful to Diana and he was and still is a lousy father who used his kids in his PR cleanup and could have supported Harry a lot more in public. And for better or worse genuinely seems to love Camilla, even if she wasn’t the only he was seeing

      But as someone who’s a senior royal, I think he’s done a lot of good work and clearly has genuine passions and interests.

      • Shoshone says:

        I agree that Charles has some pretty significant flaws (deficits?) as a human being but he is smart, hard working and intellectually curious and engaged. I have commented about this before but I was once struck by how Charles was portrayed in an interview that was given by an individual who works to build and maintain classic English hedgerows. Hedgerows are disappearing and Charles appears to really care about this because, although they are very hard work, they are both a living history and a massive boon to the environment.

        The aforementioned interview was with an individual who builds and maintains the five (5!) different styles of hedgerows. He recounted that Charles wanted to know everything about them and how to go about building, maintaining and rejuvenating a hedgerow. He wanted to absorb all of the information and he did this by getting out and performing the backbreaking labor. He stated that Charles would sometimes find him at a work site and arrive with his RPO, strip off his shirt and work alongside him for 5-6 hours. Charles actually works, learns, earns and follows through on his projects and can actually be respected for this aspect of his personality.

        As far as the current controversy about The Crown, Charles should have STFU and stonewalled and promoted fashion and and sustainability and the environment and his other “passion projects” and the controversy would have passed relatively quickly.

      • Yvette says:

        @Shoshone … “As far as the current controversy about The Crown, Charles should have STFU and stonewalled and promoted fashion and and sustainability and the environment and his other “passion projects” and the controversy would have passed relatively quickly.”

        Do we really know that Prince Charles and Clarence House were behind this? The only place I ever read about Charles still supporting Harry and Meghan was at The Daily Mail, and then usually in the comments.

        Again, how do we know that Charles is the one behind this?

    • Amy Bee says:

      Clarence House spent months, after Meghan and Harry left the Royal Family, promoting a lie that Charles was financially supporting them. I have my doubts that they are still on good terms with Charles.

    • Lorelei says:

      Everything that Becks said! I already had a rock-bottom view of this family, but reading Norman Baker’s book managed to make it so, so much worse.

      W/r/t Charles’s message — which is actually a good one — getting lost in petty criticisms? Well maybe now they understand how Harry and Meghan have felt for years.

    • windyriver says:

      @Becks1 – can you explain a bit more about what Norman Baker said re: Dumfries House? Can’t tell if it was a positive or negative slant from what you wrote. I’ve been very impressed by what I’ve read about what Charles has done there, but am curious if you mean there’s something less impressive behind the scenes.

      I said this the other day – that based on the work Charles has done with Prince’s Trust, the duchy, Dumfries, etc. you’d assume he must have some level of compassion, integrity, and with respect to his early environmental stance, courage; and yet, that’s completely missing in how he’s acted in his personal life.

      I also suspect H&M are on reasonable terms with him, if only so Archie can get to know at least one grandfather. In fact, Meghan’s cookbook seemed so much like the type of cooperative project Charles would do, and came out so early in her short tenure as a working royal (and so soon after her wedding), I wondered if she bounced ideas off of him to get started.

      • Becks1 says:

        It was negative, for sure. l want to pull up the actual parts where he talked about it though to be more accurate. But it wasn’t necessarily negative about the work being done at Dumfries house itself – just the way the investment money was procured, stuff like that.

        Okay I’m rereading the part about it now and I was going to quote but there’s too much. Basically the way Dumfries House was purchased was sketchy (via a loan from the prince’s foundation that was repaid via Russian businessman in part), Charles threw his weight around to be able to build a “Scottish poundbury” even though the local council had already rejected applications to build around there, the foundation then loaned 1.71 million to the real estate subsidiary tasked with building said town which was a lot considering the foundation had just raised 3.82 million that year, etc. and the foundation has not been repaid yet.

        Its the kind of thing where Charles probably did have good intentions and a good vision, but his methods are flawed.

      • BayTampaBay says:

        @Becks1 – I still think Dumfries House is a great project and will add to Charles’ legacy. IMPO, William could never have pulled off a project like Dumfries House.

        Charles is one of those people where a million different things are true at once, some very-very good, some not so good, some very-very bad and some just outright horrible.

      • Becks1 says:

        @Bay – the point is that Charles hasn’t pulled it off yet. His fake Poundbury town still isn’t built and the houses are going for 3 times what houses in the next town are selling for. And the sketchy finances surrounding it are very problematic but that seems to be how Charles operates. It’s nice that he got other people to donate money (or took money from his own foundation) to buy and maintain the property, and to run these projects, but at some point people are going to have to start asking where that money comes from and what those people get in return.

      • windyriver says:

        @Becks1 – appreciate the details. Looks like I should put Norman Baker on my reading list!

        About Dumfries, from what I see, the housing project – Knockroon – isn’t directly connected to Dumfries, at least not now. It was designed as an “ecovillage”, and appears to be part of the Prince’s Foundation and it’s architecture programs, while Dumfries is its own trust. A documentary a few years back discussed issues with the housing plan (too expensive, not appropriate for the area, etc.). Articles from last year indicate things haven’t improved.

        Not sure of all the financial details surrounding Dumfries House itself, especially how the loan was repaid. More than the house was purchased; also the irreplaceable collection of Chippendale furniture original to the house. At the time the Dumfries sale was completed, the furniture was actually on vans, on the road, headed to auction. As I recall Charles floated the large loan from the foundation for a big part of it, plus the Scottish government also contributed. There were lots of newspaper headlines at the time about the purchase; much concern about loan repayment due over the coming years; and Charles was criticized for taking it on.

        From the current website, there are now about half a dozen training/educational programs under the Dumfries umbrella. Nearly all of them are named, presumably in honor of the organizations underwriting them; though I’m not familiar with them. There’s also a Health and Wellbeing Center that serves the local community. The house is located in an economically depressed area; many local residents are employed at Dumfries or are in training programs there. According to the website, the Dumfries House Trust has rejuvenated the town hall and pool in the nearby town, and plans to do more.

        The housing project Knockroon has definitely been a flop, but from what I see, Dumfries House is not. I agree with @Bay, it’s a great project, with many innovative elements, and something for which Charles should rightfully be remembered. And something William couldn’t pull off in a million years.

        Also have to say, @Bay really sums it up with “Charles is one of those people where a million different things are true at once”. The man is really a cipher.

  7. Lorelei says:

    Wait, so now Vogue ISN’T a “glossy, trendy” publication that is below the BRF to work with? Because I heard an awful lot of that last year. Got it.

  8. elfie says:

    Oh PLEASE. He “loves fashion” now, he absolutely hated it when Diana was the #1 fashion icon in the world.

  9. MsIam says:

    I hope he sent a copy of this Vogue issue to his daughter-in-law the Duchess of Many Coatdresses. I think she has enough to recycle by now.

  10. Amelie says:

    Charles is a flawed individual but you can’t deny he is knowledgeable and vocal about the projects he is involved in. It’s too bad Meghan and Harry had to exit the UK. I get the sense Charles is a lot like Meghan in the sense he is very passionate about the causes he supports and he tries to spearhead projects like Dumfries House and to bring like-minded people together to affect change. Meghan has a similar approach with her projects. Had things gone very differently, I could have seen Meghan and Charles launching initiatives together. What a shame.

  11. GuestwithCat says:

    Well many things can be true at once. It’s true he was a piece of crap human being to Diana and is a self aggrandizing ass who throws anyone and everyone under the bus because mummy and daddy didn’t love him enough and he’s got issues.

    But out of all that rotten bunch, he has worked hard and actually gotten projects done and had tangible results. I think, based on Harry’s remarks in this regard, it’s that aspect of his father he admires and it’s their common dedication to actual research, hard work and a desire to hit the ground running and see projects through to fruition that keep Harry and Meghan on some sort of common ground with him. And they probably understand what they can and cannot expect out of Charles at this point and have made their respective peace with it. Which is probably why they can give Charles genuine looking smiles in public. Harry and Meghan have experienced enough to know not to set the bar too high for dysfunctional family. Unfortunately, as a fellow Celebitchy said the other day, the bar is in hell.

    And I am not forgetting Anne or her hard work or the tangible work of other royals. I’m just remarking on the state of matters with the direct line.

  12. L4frimaire says:

    I’m sure it’s interesting. No one has ever questioned his work ethic or intellectual curiosity, regardless of the myopic bubble of privilege he’s in. What irks me is the utter pettiness and jealousy, need to sabotage and undermine others to get his shine, particularly his younger son and daughter-in-law. Now we know why they were all so upset and in attack mode about Meghan’s Vogue issue. Anyway, him and Enninful can preen in their mutual admiration society. I just can’t with them. And most of us are living in leggings and sweats these days anyway, so whatever.

  13. Rebecca says:

    All the whinging about Vogue and luxury, out of step branding and here we have the future king gracing its pages.

    Are the Royal Rota upset about this £3 they have to pay for this issue (which apparently is financially out of reach for English people specifically) according to Camilla Tominey?

    Or maybe Meghan should have just posed for photos in nice clothes, only talk about her interests, and not take the initiative and ask to guest edit the magazine…🤔😑😒

  14. Ainsley7 says:

    Charles has never really learned consequences. He believes that there is nothing that can’t be fixed later with PR. He sticks to his guns when he is right (climate change, the Prince’s Trust ) and when he is wrong (smear campaigns against anyone “in his way”). It was his official unofficial biographer who really kicked things off. He also went after William and the Queen at the same time. It just got lost when William piled on.

    This is how he apologizes. She was slammed for working with Vogue. So, he worked with Vogue in support. Just like he did a capsule collection and such. It’s one of the reasons I just can’t with him. The good he does is how he justifies the crap he pulls, he isn’t sorry, and expects people to just accept it because he’ll show his support for them later. It’s a form of abuse that often leads to the victim felling guilty for being abused because their abuser is doing it for a “good reason” and they “don’t really mean it.”

  15. WintryMix says:

    Yeah. He may very well be a psychologically toxic person, but I think the difference to William and Kate is that he is also a substantive person with real thoughts, interests, knowledge, life experiences, etc. I mean I think they’re all assholes but if I had to sit next to one of them at dinner I’d certainly pick Charles.

  16. Heidi Davis says:

    This interview reminded me Terry Pratchett and he boots theory of economics inequality. It’s in Men at Arms. I hope it’s okay to post the whole quote because it really does seem relevant:

    “ The reason that the rich were so rich, Vimes reasoned, was because they managed to spend less money.

    Take boots, for example. He earned thirty-eight dollars a month plus allowances. A really good pair of leather boots cost fifty dollars. But an affordable pair of boots, which were sort of OK for a season or two and then leaked like hell when the cardboard gave out, cost about ten dollars. Those were the kind of boots Vimes always bought, and wore until the soles were so thin that he could tell where he was in Ankh-Morpork on a foggy night by the feel of the cobbles.

    But the thing was that good boots lasted for years and years. A man who could afford fifty dollars had a pair of boots that’d still be keeping his feet dry in ten years’ time, while the poor man who could only afford cheap boots would have spent a hundred dollars on boots in the same time and would still have wet feet.

    This was the Captain Samuel Vimes ‘Boots’ theory of socioeconomic unfairness.”

  17. Mignionette says:

    LMFAO off – what a difference 1 month and the Crown make.

    Comments on that post were largely positive, zip forward a few weeks and Chucky is shutting down the comments on CH pages.

  18. Lizzie says:

    His thoughts on hundreds of coat dresses that all have buttons?

  19. Mina_Esq says:

    When I hear about some of Charles’ progressive interests, I’m always a bit sad. For all the talk that he and the late Diana had little in common, I feel like they would have discovered a lot of shared interests over time. I kind of think sustainability would have appealed to her. Imagine bringing THAT kind of superstar power to some of these causes…sigh. Sorry, I’m still fresh off of watching Season 4 of The Crown:)