Prince Charles hails news digital ID for fashion brands

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 (PA)
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Prince Charles 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, in Rome for the G20, met with CEOs of the world’s biggest fashion brands to see their work making the industry more sustainable.

In the gardens of the British Embassy the Prince was given a demonstration of the digital ID in action.

He was shown items including a Chloe poncho and Armani jacket scanned on a mobile phone, as details of how they were made and where the materials came from were revealed.

 (PA)
(PA)

“I’m so grateful to you all,” he told assembled CEOs, convened under the Prince’s Fashion Taskforce by chairman Federico Marchetti.

He quizzed executives on their green credentials, from how much water was used in fabric production to the breed of cattle handbag leather came from.

He was greeted at the embassy by British Ambassador Jill Morris, with the pair walking through the picturesque gardens via a vegetable patch.

They were joined by Mr Marchetti, who has been working for a year to bring key brands together in support of the digital ID, before it expands across the fashion industry.

At a small reception, he introduced the Prince to Andre Cameran from Giorgio Armani, Simon Cotton from Johnstons of Elgin, Thierry Andretta from Mulberry, Riccardo Bellini from Chloe, Brunello Cucinelli from the eponymous brand, and Natasha Franck from EON which have provided the technology to make the ID happen.

The “groundbreaking” technology was put on display using labels from two British brands, a Johnstons of Elgin scarf and a light blue Mulberry handbag, as well as a Chloe poncho and a jacket from Armani, which uses down feathers recycled from mattresses to keep customers warm.

“You did it so quickly!” the Prince marvelled, speaking to Ms Franck in a line-up of the key Taskforce players.

Suggesting ethical brands would benefit from the transparency of people knowing how much effort they put into sustainability, she told him: “A lot of the time, all these investments are invisible to the customer, so the digital ID will allow people to see.”

The Prince asked the team from Armani about production methods, and - viewing the scarf - asked Mr Cotton from Johnstons of Elgin whether the company would have to provide new information for the ID from each product.

Seeing the Mulberry bag, he asked whether it was leather before quizzing Mr Andretta on whether it was from a particular breed of cattle and sourced in the UK.

Hearing that it was sourced from regenerative farming methods and is low carbon, the Prince remarked that he wished “people knew the value” of ethically-produced 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.

“How long will it take to get all your products on this,” he asked, hearing it was likely to be in the next season of collections, into autumn/winter 2022.

“I’m so grateful to you all,” the Prince added.

The Fashion Taskforce is part of the Prince’s Sustainable Markets Initiative (SMI).

A spokesman said the Digital ID will allow key players in the fashion value chain - including manufacturers, brands, retailers, resellers and recyclers - to provide unprecedented transparency and traceability of the products they sell.

It will also unlock new circular services for customers, such as care and repair services, as well as ones focused on resale and recycling, they said.

Federico Marchetti, chair of the Fashion Taskforce and founder of YOOX NET-A-PORTER Group, said: “The time for only talk is over. In such a highly competitive industry it is unprecedented for so many different brands and platforms from all around the world to work together on a single innovative solution, and I am delighted to say this commitment is the result of an incredible group of companies and their leaders who recognize there is no time left to lose in transitioning the industry to a more transparent and sustainable footing.

“This Digital ID provides a genuine opportunity for consumers to make truly sustainable choices when they are making their purchases.

“In an industry that needs to do so much more to improve its impact on the environment, this is a huge step forward and only the beginning of the Taskforce’s journey.”

In a statement, the Prince of Wales said of the Taskforce: “People have the right to know if what they buy is created sustainably and there is a responsibility to tell them if we truly believe in the shared principles of transparency, accountability and enforcement.

“Fashion is one of the most polluting sectors in the world, but this new Digital ID shows how business is committed to meaningful, measurable change: providing customers with the information they need to make cleaner, healthier, and more sustainable choices. It shows that business doesn’t just talk about these issues, but has taken action.”

The taskforce also includes Burberry, Gabriela Hearst, Stella McCartney, Selfridges, Vestiaire Collective, Modo Operandi, Zalanda and Dubai retailer

Prince Charles 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.

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