Sustainable designers Vin and Omi create dresses made with willow from Charles’ Highgrove Estate

The Prince of Eco-Fashion: Sustainable Designers Vin and Omi Create Willow Dresses from the Estate of Charles Highgrove

Flexible but strong, the willow is popular with basket weavers and is famous for making cricket bats.

It’s now found an unexpected use in fashion – thanks to the latest collaboration between Prince Charles and enduring “punky” designers Vin and Omi.

Surprisingly, the sleeveless knitted black dress pictured here was made from willow stems sourced from the prince’s residence in Highgrove.

Amazingly, the sleeveless knitted black dress pictured here was made from willow stems from the prince’s residence in Highgrove.

Gardeners cultivate a lot here, many of which are used to make plant supports and path borders. But environmentalist Charles is always looking for ingenious ways to use garden waste, so when it came to the surplus, Vin and Omi were called in.

The duo, who only go by their first names, traveled to Highgrove last fall to pick unwanted willows that had already been pruned by gardeners. The stems were then chipped, pulped and, using the pair’s “eco-friendly process”, spun into yarn and woven.

They also made it into an empire line woven dress. To make the two dresses, it took about 100 rods in total. Omi described the willow material as “like thick satin”.

Environmentalist Charles is always on the lookout for ingenious ways to use garden waste, so when it came to the surplus, Vin and Omi were called in

Environmentalist Charles is always on the lookout for ingenious ways to use garden waste, so when it came to the surplus, Vin and Omi were called in

The duo, who only go by their first names, traveled to Highgrove last fall to pick unwanted willows that had already been pruned by gardeners.

The duo, who only go by their first names, traveled to Highgrove last fall to pick unwanted willows that had already been pruned by gardeners.

Model India Foster wore the dresses in a photoshoot with the Daily Mail this week at the Dorchester Hotel before appearing on the catwalk during Vin et Omi’s fashion show there to champion a sustainable lifestyle at the start from London Fashion Week on Thursday.

Omi also exhibited beetle pendants and brooches which, in another new project with Charles, were made from broken plastic flowerpots from Highgrove.

He told the Mail: “We never dreamed that Vin + Omi would work with royalty – it’s like chalk and cheese.” But the common interest is the environment and sustainability.

“His Royal Highness is so knowledgeable. We wouldn’t have thought of using willow if he hadn’t suggested it. The prince and the duo forged their alliance four years ago and turned Highgrove nettles into wearable fabric.

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