Princess Anne’s sustainable style date

Her Royal Highness Princess Anne has been president of the UK Fashion and Textile Association for 35 years and is a long-time advocate of sustainability in the fashion industry so it is perhaps not surprising that she concluded her New Zealand tour with a visit to Untouched World on Friday afternoon in Christchurch.

She was accompanied around the Untouched World workrooms and retail space by her husband Sir Timothy Laurence, along with Untouched World staff and members of the Agricultural and Pastoral Association, Defence Force personnel, and Police.

“A lot of people worked hard to make the visit happen for Her Royal Highness, and we are very grateful to them all. The preparation and security detailing was comprehensive”, says Untouched World Founder and CEO Peri Drysdale.

The behind-the-scenes tour was a ‘farm-to-garment’ look at the way Untouched World clothing is made using unique technology in a zero-waste environment. Regenerative farming practices were showcased by farmers from Canterbury’s Glenthorne Station, where Untouched World sources most of their finest merino. She was also talked through the process of how the wool is responsibly made into premium garments.

“Her Royal Highness is very down to earth, knowledgeable, intelligent and truly engages with everyone she meets. She mentioned that she has a much loved ‘black and fluffy’ Untouched World garment which was nice to hear,” says Drysdale.

“She has a keen interest in sustainability and remarked on how early we were in developing a sustainable business model (back in 1998). She is also fascinated by wool and fibres and was particularly curious about the research and development taking place.”

Drysdale also talked with Her Royal Highness about a research and development project she worked on with His Royal Highness King Charles.

“I was advised by Charles Craven, Estate Manager to then His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall, that King Charles was inspired by what we were doing with possum fibre, and he wondered if the same could be done with grey squirrel fur.  Like possums, the grey squirrels in the UK pose a serious threat to nesting birds and native trees. We researched and tested the material that he sent to us, and while our conclusion was that the hair was too short to work with, we were impressed by his interest and delighted to receive a personal letter from him acknowledging that work.”

The Royal connection doesn’t end there, it goes back to 1995 with Her Royal Highness, the late Queen Elizabeth II.

“It was back in the earlier days of our business,” says Drysdale, “that we were asked to make garments for a Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting. Apparently, someone at Government House gave the Queen our catalogue, and before we knew it, we were sending clothing to Buckingham Palace.”

Drysdale first met Princess Anne back in 2003 at a Commonwealth Study Conference and says she was honoured on this occasion to have the opportunity to host her and her husband, Sir Timothy Lawrence at Untouched World.


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