LONDON — Yoox Net-a-porter and Prince Charles’ foundation have forged an Anglo-Italian alliance with the aim of helping young artisans by marrying artisanal and data-driven design.
An announcement is expected today.
The project, dubbed the Modern Artisan, will bring together two groups of students and recent graduates from Italy and the U.K. to work on design projects and undergo training that will help them gain employment in the future.
Six Italian students from the design school Politecnico di Milano will be tasked with designing a collection inspired by the convergence of art and science in Leonardo da Vinci’s work in the lead up to the 500th anniversary of his death.
The final collection, which will range across men’s and women’s wear, will be brought to market in the middle of next year and be sold across all four YNAP platforms, Net-a-porter, Mr Porter, Yoox and The Outnet. Profits from the sale will be donated to the Prince’s Foundation, which is a charitable organization set up by Prince Charles and focusing on community building and offering skills-based courses across the arts, architecture, hospitality and science.
The project will also engage six U.K. graduates and offer them the opportunity to undertake a four-month training on “luxury small batch production skills” where they will learn how to handle fabrics like cashmere, wool and silk. They will then go on to manufacture the designs of their Italian counterparts at Dumfries House, the headquarters of The Prince’s Foundation in Ayrshire, Scotland.
Throughout the process, The Prince’s Foundation and YNAP will organize a number of “culture exchanges” in Italy and Scotland for the teams to meet and work together from the early design stages through to producing the final samples.
“Designed in Italy and crafted in the U.K., the Modern Artisan collection will be an important expression of how talent and technology can work across boundaries and borders,” said YNAP’s chairman and chief executive officer Federico Marchetti, who has been working toward building a longer-term partnership with Prince Charles and his charitable foundation.
Last May Marchetti gave the prince and his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, a tour of the company’s new tech hub in west London.
“This project is the culmination of our Future Textiles initiative, which starts by giving school pupils an introduction to the textile industry and goes right through to the Modern Artisan project, which offers an inspiring progression route to any young person wishing to enter the fashion and textile industry,” added Jacqueline Farrell, education director for The Prince’s Foundation at Dumfries House.
After the launch online, the collection will also be exhibited at the Michelangelo Foundation’s Homo Faber showcase of European craftsmanship.