Royals

Prince Charles teams up with a sustainable fashion label to create clothing out of weeds from his garden

Move aside Meghan Markle, Prince Charles is vying for the title of most fashion-forward royal.

While the Duchess of Sussex is currently working on a capsule clothing collection for charity, there's another royal who has decided to delve into fashion realm too – her father-in-law, Charles, The Prince of Wales.
The future King has teamed up with British design duo Vin + Omi in the lead up to their London Fashion Week collection, set to hit the runway this month – and the clothing is made entirely from nettles, all supplied from Prince Charles' private estate Highgrove in Gloucestershire!
According to Harper's Bazaar, the 70-year-old royal first met the pair in May as part of the Positive Fashion Initiative, which encourages the fashion industry to adopt sustainable production methods and it was during this meeting that Charles suggested turning weeds from his garden into clothing.
"It was actually his idea to use nettles from his estate and turn them into clothes," explains co-founder Omi, to PEOPLE.
"And what do you do with a suggestion like that? It was almost like a challenge for us!"
Prince Charles in the Highgrove meadow where many of the nettle plants were collected for the collection. (Image: Getty)
Speaking to The Guardian, Omi says the offer from Prince Charles was "surreal".
"We are not establishment at all. Our look is 1980s Camden punk. I mean, it's not like we are Gucci or someone like that."
"He casually said that he had loads of nettles if we wanted them. We thought it was a nice gesture and then next thing we knew we were at Highgrove with his team harvesting nettles over two days," says Omi, who co-founded the Vin + Omi brand 15 years ago with a science scholarship to look into sustainability.
With the help of eight students from Oxford Brookes University, they harvested more than 3000 nettle plants, something that took them most of the summer, they explain to PEOPLE.
"It's been really humbling, because at Highgrove they know so much. It's become a learning process for both of us. The way his estate is run, it's mindblowing to think that these ideas were implemented 20-25 years ago.
"He really knows a lot about gardening and the environment."

Talking about what London Fashion Week-goers can expect from the 10 or so pieces of nettle clothing set to hit the catwalk, Omi says the audience will see a "fabric you might think was a type of alpaca, or maybe a very fine fleece.
"It's a wispy, airy sort of texture – you wouldn't recognise it as nettle at all. That's the whole point, to make a contemporary garment out of waste material.
"Nettles are perceived to have no value," Omi tells The Guardian.
"Hopefully that challenges the way we think about fashion. Nettles are everywhere, they are a weed, they are an abundant natural resource in this country. We want to start people thinking about how fashion can work with what the environment has to offer, rather than forcing itself on the environment in harmful ways."
Prince Charles is "very appreciative" of the project, Omi tells The Guardian, having sent the designers numerous letters of encouragement.
"Every so often the postman turns up with a registered post letter, bearing the royal seal," Omi shares, and the Victoria & Albert Museum in London has already asked for a piece for its permanent collection.

Prince Charles has long been a passionate advocate for environmental causes, including initiatives like the Campaign for Wool, along with spearheading awareness for deforestation, climate change and ocean pollution, and it's clear that this passion has been passed onto his two sons Prince William and Prince Harry, who revealed their father has passed on some environmentally-conscious habits to them from a very young age.
Meanwhile Duchess Meghan is putting the finishing touches on her capsule clothing collection, which she announced she was working on in the September issue of British Vogue, which she guest edited.
The fashion-forward royal revealed she was collaborating with British fashion department stores Marks & Spencer and John Lewis, with their label Jigsaw, with the help of her friend and fashion designer Misha Nonoo.
WATCH: Behind the scenes of Meghan Markle's capsule clothing collection. Story continues below...
The collection will benefit one of her patronages Smart Works, a charity which supports disadvantaged and unemployed women who are entering or returning to the workforce.
The collection will work on a "one-for-one" basis – for each item purchased, one will be donated to Smart Works.
"Not only does this allow us to be part of each other's story, it reminds us we are in it together," Meghan wrote in Vogue.