Windsor and Buckingham Palace curtains upcycled by talented students of The King’s Foundation into luxury kimonos for auction
Curtains that formerly adorned the window frames of Royal residences Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace have been upcycled by students of The King’s Foundation into seven one-off fashion pieces that will go to auction to raise money for the charity.
The idea was conceived by His Majesty The King, founder of The King’s Foundation, who established the charity as a vehicle to train the next generation of skilled craftspeople – including in fashion and textiles – in heritage techniques valuable to many traditional UK industries.
Students of The King’s Foundation’s Batch Production Skills course at Dumfries House, the headquarters of the charity, in East Ayrshire, received the donation of surplus curtain fabric from the curtain storerooms at Windsor Great Park, where out-of-use materials are stored and repairs undertaken. The cohort was tasked with repurposing a range of 30 different patterns as part of a bulk 50-metre delivery into a modern fashion collection fit for retail, devising a range of two styles of kimono that took 8-10 hours apiece to tailor.
Up for auction will be four Delft Blue Floral Kimono Coats (three medium; one large), one Vintage Rose and Duck Egg Short Kimono, one Damask Burnt Orange and Teal Short Kimono, and one Bold Denim Blue and Yellow Damask Short Kimono (all one size).
Scottish model Riley wears Delft Blue Floral Kimono Coat and a hairband by Ellipsis in The Blue Drawing Room by Lewis MacKenzie
“It’s not just about making a collection to be sold,” explained Jacqueline Farrell, education director for The King’s Foundation at Dumfries House. “We hope this project will show what can be done with vintage materials in terms of repurposing and upcycling.
“It was a real design challenge for the students in how to make traditional styles of fabrics into contemporary, appealing designs. They have created unique garments that are really versatile and reflect a piece of history.
Scottish model Riley wears the Damask Burnt Orange and Teal Short Kimono and an Ellipsis hairband. Photo by Lewis MacKenzie
“His Majesty’s vision is reflected in his Foundation’s education delivery and he has always been keen that people of all ages carry on the handskills that are so valuable to luxury fashion, thereby allowing many of our graduates to gain brilliant jobs in the industry.
“It was such a privilege to receive the donation. It felt like Christmas morning opening such a box of treats for the students to work with.”
Next year will mark the tenth anniversary of The King’s Foundation’s Future Textiles programme, which comprises a series of education courses for school pupils, college graduates and older people, with particular focus on high-level training in the luxury end of the fashion industry via programmes such as The Modern Artisan (with YNAP) and Le Metiers d’Art Fellowship (with Chanel).
The donated curtains were archived and catalogued at the curtain storerooms in Windsor, with the excess donated to The King’s Foundation. In a bid to meet “zero waste” targets, leftover cut-offs, even the smallest scraps, are to be used in the charity’s schools’ programmes.
Scottish model Riley wears the Vintage Rose and Duck Egg Short Kimono at Dumfries House. Photo by Lewis MacKenzie.
The kimonos will be auctioned online via The King’s Foundation’s silent Christmas auction, with no set guide price. They will be auctioned in aid of the charity alongside a host of other collectibles and experiences including dinner in The Garden Room at Highgrove Gardens,, and stays at Dumfries House Lodge and The Granary Lodge at The Castle of Mey in Caithness.
Bids can be placed from today [Sunday 3 December] until 23:59 on Friday 8 December via uk.givergy.com/KingsFoundationAuction
Photography: Lewis MacKenzie