Prince Charles reveals his sustainable style secrets

The Prince of Wales appears in British Vogue's December issue

He's been at the forefront of sustainable fashion for many years and now the Prince of Wales has revealed the secrets of his style.

Prince Charles famously prefers to repair and reuse items in his wardrobe and says he cares about "detail and colour combinations".

And his careful approach has seen him set up a monthly repair shop – a "thrift market" at Dumfries House in Scotland where people can take items to be mended.

READ: Duchess Camilla recycles sentimental coat for special engagement

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WATCH: Prince Charles and Camilla visit the Bank of England

Asked about his dress sense in an interview with British Vogue Editor-in-Chief Edward Enniful, the heir to the throne says: "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. I'm lucky because I can find marvellous people who are brilliant makers of the things that I appreciate, and because of that, I try to keep them going for longer."

Like his sister the Princess Royal, the future King has been spotted wearing items dating back to the 1980s or earlier, including a pair of handmade shoes by John Lobb and a brown herringbone Anderson and Sheppard coat.


Charles pictured at Highgrove in a linen jacket from Anderson and Sheppard made in 1990.

Credit: Nick Knight

"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," he explains. "And that’s why I think, from an economic point of view, there are huge opportunities for people to set up small businesses involved with repair, maintenance and reuse."

Charles's dedication to sustainable clothing has led him to set up "a kind of thrift market" at Dumfries House in Scotland.

"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," he adds.

MORE: Inside Prince Charles' stunning Scottish home Dumfries House


A thrift shop has been set up at Dumfries House in Scotland

His Prince's Foundation runs a textile training project at Dumfries House, where students learn traditional sewing, tailoring and embroidery skills.

Since April last year the repairs service has been part of a regular monthly Sunday market at Dumfries House, although it has been on hold during the coronavirus outbreak.

Staff from the textiles programme offer – and teach – basic repairs such as sewing on buttons, inserting zips and mending tears in garments to encourage people to keep wearing pieces they love rather than buy new.


The Prince’s Foundation is proud to announce Jay Blades, Furniture Restorer and TV Presenter, as a Building Crafts ambassador for the charity. ​. Through his role as an ambassador, Jay will use his expertise of working in the industry to support The Prince’s Foundation in its vision, mission and strategy.​ ​. The Prince’s Foundation offers a number of innovative and inspiring training programmes which aim to help preserve traditional building craft skills such as thatching, stonemasonry, blacksmithing, woodwork and plastering. These heritage craft skills are at risk of being lost as the average age of workers in the heritage craft sector is approaching retirement age.​ ​. Jay said: “I am honoured to be invited to be an ambassador for The Prince’s Foundation. HRH The Prince of Wales’s vision of creating harmonious sustainable communities is a passion that is very close to my heart.​ . “Championing a sustainable approach to how we live our lives, build our homes and teach traditional arts and crafts are fundamental in all aspects of my philosophy and the DNA that runs through my business @jay_n_co . “As an ambassador, I am excited to be involved with The Prince’s Foundation’s pioneering initiatives both nationally and internationally. I look forward to working with the charity to empower and inspire both this and future generations to take action to develop more sustainable communities.” . . . . . #heritagecrafts #BuildingCraftSkills #TraditionalSkills #Craftsmanship #PrincesFoundation #crafts #furnituremaking #woodwork

A post shared by The Prince's Foundation (@theprincesfoundation) on


Jay Blades is an ambassador for The Prince's Foundation

Fittingly, Jay Blades, presenter of the hit BBC show The Repair Shop, became an ambassador for The Prince's Foundation in July. 

The Prince adds: "A lot of the students we train here are snapped up by local firms – the ones that are left in the textile sector. But 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 throwaway everything, frankly."

The students are about to unveil The Modern Artisan Project, a sustainable fashion collection created in collaboration with design students in Italy.

The December issue of British Vogue, available via digital download and on newsstands Friday 6 November

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