Most often seen in a tailored suit and sensible shirt, Prince Charles hardly has the most fashion-forward royal wardrobe. 

But that doesn’t mean the heir to the throne, 71, is indifferent about what he wears.

In an interview for British Vogue, Charles revealed he pays attention to ‘detail and colour combinations’. He also bemoaned the rise of fast fashion, saying he prefers to repair his clothes and shows rather than buy new. 

The interview, published in the December issue, is accompanied by a new photo of Charles surrounded by beautiful pink hydrangea shrubs.

In the pink! Charles is interviewed in the December issue of British Vogue. The story is accompanied by a new photo of Charles surrounded by beautiful pink hydrangea shrubs

It was taken by fashion photographer Nick Knight, who previously photographed Charles and the Queen for Her Majesty’s official 90th birthday portrait. 

Asked by editor-in-chief Edward Enninful, a friend of the Duchess of Sussex, where his ‘sense of style’ comes from, Charles replied: ‘I thought I was like a stopped clock – I’m right twice every 24 hours. But… I’m very glad you think it has style. I mind about detail and colour combinations.’

He added: ‘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.’ The royal is known for re-wearing his favourite coats and suits over a number of decades.

Prince Charles said the ‘British fashion textile sector is of enormous importance’ but that he believes there are ‘huge’ opportunities for designers and manufacturers to invest in sustainable fashion and focus on ‘repair, maintenance and reuse’.

‘It seems to me there are huge opportunities, particularly now, within the whole sustainable fashion sector, to counter this extraordinary trend of throw-away clothing or throw-away everything, frankly,’ he said. 

Charles revealed how he has tried to start a ‘thrift market’ at his educational centre Dumfries House, where things could be brought to be mended.

Eye for fashion: Charles revealed he pays attention to ‘detail and colour combinations’ of his clothes. Pictured, the prince shows off a number of patterns in an outfit worn last month

He added: ‘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.’

Students from the Modern Artisan Project – a fashion training programme co-founded by the Prince’s Foundation – are about to launch a clothing collection with commercially viable sustainability at its core. 

The prince said many of the students trained in high-end fashion and sewing skills by the foundation were ‘snapped up’ by firms working in the textile sector. 

Speaking on how consumers can help shape the fashion industry, Charles added: ‘The consumer has immense power in deciding where to buy from, and the best companies will lead the way, we hope, in demonstrating that if you follow the right principles of operation, not only are you moving more and more towards net zero but also you’re removing pollution from supply chains.’

Thrifty: Prince Charles wearing the same coat in 1988 (left) and in February in Pontypridd

The prince gave the example of how around 30 years ago he set firms who have a royal warrant to supply him goods the ultimatum to conform to a set of environmental requirements, or lose their special status.

He said there were ‘howls of protest’ but he remained firm: ‘So of course, they went away, looked at their supply chains, looked at the way they did things. Lo and behold, they came back and said, “Well, actually, it’s saved us money to do it in a better way”.’ 

Charles’ interview appears in the December issue of British Vogue

Upcycling items and giving them a new lease of life is seen as a way of protecting the environment and is particularly relevant in the world of fashion.

According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, clothing production has approximately doubled in the last 15 years – in part due to the rise of fast fashion, where companies mass produce high street versions of catwalk trends at a low cost.

This is having a huge impact on the environment, as the textiles industry uses 98 million tonnes of non-renewable resources a year. 

The British Vogue appearance comes 14 months after Charles’ daughter-in-law the Duchess of Sussex, 39, guest edited the September 2019 issue.   

The December issue of British Vogue is available via digital download and on newsstands on Friday.

Prince Charles discusses fashion in British Vogue

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