The Prince’s Foundation and YOOX NET-A-PORTER open applications for second edition of The Modern Artisan project to train the next generation in bringing a responsible luxury womenswear collection to market

May 31, 2021

CUMNOCK, 1 JUNE 2021: The Prince’s Foundation and YOOX NET-A-PORTER today announce the opening of applications for the second edition of The Modern Artisan project, inviting fashion and textiles graduates from anywhere in the UK to submit applications for their place on a once-in-a-lifetime paid training programme by 30 June 2021. 

Four UK based fashion and textiles graduates passionate about innovative, responsible design and creating womenswear to the highest standard will be given the opportunity to join a team of four graduates from the Fashion Design Programmes of leading Italian design school Politecnico di Milano and take part in a collaborative ten-month paid training programme. Starting in September 2021, The Prince’s Foundation and YOOX NET-A-PORTER will upskill and guide the eight trainee artisans through the process of bringing a responsible luxury collection to market on a global scale. The resulting capsule collection will debut on NET-A-PORTER and YOOX in Autumn 2022. Profits from the sale of the collection will be donated to The Prince’s Foundation to enable the charity to develop and deliver training programmes that will help preserve traditional textile skills.

The paid training programme will kick-off with four months of immersive design training guided by industry experts at YOOX NET-A-PORTER headquarters in London and Milan* for the British and Italian groups respectively. As they are supported through the design process, trainees will have the opportunity to explore designing for sustainability and circularity, including the application of data insights for customer relevance and longevity. The eight trainees will then come together to undertake six months of intensive training in luxury small batch production skills at The Prince’s Foundation’s Dumfries House headquarters in Ayrshire, Scotland, where they will gain the skills to handcraft the collection to the highest of standards. Over the course of the programme, trainees will benefit from industry visits in the UK and Italy** and throughout trainees will receive ongoing mentorship from YOOX NET-A-PORTER, The Prince’s Foundation and brand partners.

YOOX NET-A-PORTER and The Prince’s Foundation, of which His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales is President, partnered in 2019 to develop the first edition of The Modern Artisan. This first-of-its-kind project celebrates both the rich heritage and future of British and Italian textile craftsmanship, and aims to strengthen textile skills training and equip trainee artisans with the skills and confidence needed in today’s fast-paced digital world to produce the highest-quality responsible luxury fashion.

The first edition of the project culminated with the launch of the YOOX NET-A-PORTER for The Prince’s Foundation collection in November 2020, which attracted global media attention and debuted in British Vogue. Since graduating from the programme, all the trainee artisans who took part across Italy and the UK have secured employment in the industry or started their own fashion and manufacturing businesses.

Applications for the second edition of The Modern Artisan project open today (1 June) and close on Wednesday 30 June. While applicants should already possess excellent sewing skills, the programme will support the trainees as they develop the skills needed to transfer bespoke construction techniques to luxury small-batch production methods, while learning how to bring a luxury fashion collection to market.

Among the UK artisans to graduate from the first edition of The Modern Artisan is Jillian Halfpenny, who is about to launch her own luxury small-batch production business in Scotland. She said: “My business, In The House Of, is a micro-manufacturing company which I will run from my purpose built studio at home. Through the business, I will use the skills I learnt while training on The Modern Artisan project to manufacture small batches of luxury products for emerging designers and established fashion houses.

“Being involved in The Modern Artisan project was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity which enabled me to put into practice all that I learnt at college and expand my skills in the full range of designing, manufacturing and bringing to market a luxury and sustainable clothing collection.”

Following the unprecedented success of The Modern Artisan, we are delighted to announce that we will once again be collaborating with YOOX NET-A-PORTER for a second edition of the project. The training programme is suitable for fashion and textiles graduates with a keen interest in sustainability and a desire to learn more about responsible design, who would like to enhance their manufacturing skills in a challenging, collaborative and fast-paced environment. We’d like to encourage anyone with the relevant skills and an interest in setting up their own business or working in artisanal manufacturing to apply before the deadline.

Jacqueline Farrell, education director for The Prince’s Foundation at Dumfries House

The Modern Artisan presents a life-changing opportunity for a new generation of young talents across Italy and the UK, providing the catalyst for an exciting future career at a crucial moment. For the industry at large, it offers a blueprint for a highly innovative approach to the design and craftsmanship at the heart of the fashion system, fusing traditional artisanal skills with technology to truly create values-led luxury fashion. It has been a pleasure and an honour to develop this concept with His Royal Highness and The Prince’s Foundation, and I am thrilled to see the legacy continue.

Federico Marchetti, Founder and Chairman of YOOX NET-A-PORTER

Shortlisted applicants will be invited to take part in a virtual interview on Wednesday 14 or Thursday 15 July, followed by a virtual challenge day on Monday 26 July. Graduates interested in applying can visit https://www.ynap.com/pages/the-modern-artisan/ to find out more and download the application form.