The Prince of Wales has hailed a new digital ID for fashion brands, saying he is “so grateful” that customers can now make ethical decisions about where they shop.
The Prince, who was in Rome on Sunday for the G20, met with the chief executives of the world’s biggest fashion houses to learn about how they are making their brands more sustainable – from low-carbon leather to jackets stuffed with material recycled from mattresses.
In the gardens of the British Embassy, shortly after he delivered a speech to the G20 summit, the Prince was given a demonstration of the digital ID in action, saying it is “so encouraging” that customers are now seeking clothes made ethically.
Among the items on show were a scarf from Johnstons of Elgin, which already holds a Royal Warrant, and a Mulberry handbag, which the Prince praised thanks to its leather material.
The value of leather
Hearing that it was sourced from regenerative farming methods and is low carbon in its production, the Prince remarked that he wished “people knew the value of leather” in the “circular economy” over plastic or “strange spun” synthetic material.
“That’s why it’s so encouraging to make this happen,” he said of the information on the digital ID.
On being told it was likely to take until the next season of collections, into autumn/winter 2022, for the technology to be in place as standard, he told assembled chief executives of fashion brands: “I’m so grateful to you all.”
It was the Prince’s final engagement before flying back to the UK for the Cop26 climate change summit at which he will deliver an opening address.
“Quite literally, it is the last-chance saloon,” he told world leaders of the conference. “We must now translate fine words into still finer actions.”
Bringing key brands together
He was hosted at the fashion event by Federico Marchetti, chairman of his Fashion Taskforce, who has been working for a year to bring key brands together in support of the digital ID.
“We have heard so many times about plans to do things by 2025, 2030, and we wanted to do exactly the opposite: we are going to start now,” Mr Marchetti told The Telegraph.
“It’s a very strong commitment by these visionary leaders to change the industry. There will be an imitation effect, other brands will join, and when the customer sees it, it will become a ‘must’.
“I think the Prince was definitely happy about the result. He likes people who do things rather than just talk about them.”