In February 2023, we had the distinct honour of welcoming Her Royal Highness Princess Anne and Sir Tim Laurence to our Untouched World workrooms in Christchurch, New Zealand. This visit offered a unique opportunity to showcase the heart and soul of our operations: the people, processes, and technology that go into creating our sustainable garments.
Princess Anne is a long-time advocate for sustainability in the fashion industry and has served as the President of the UK Fashion and Textile Association for 35 years. Her commitment to the cause resonates deeply with our own mission, which we embarked upon back in 1998, long before sustainability became a buzzword.
During her tour of our office, workrooms, retail store and cafe, Princess Anne received a ‘farm-to-garment’ look at the way Untouched World clothing is made. Regenerative farming practices were showcased by farmers from Glenthorne Station, where we source most of our finest merino. Her Royal Highness commented on the premium quality of the wool and remarked on the challenge of obtaining such standards in the UK due to the different climate. From there, we talked through the process of how the wool is responsibly made into premium garments and shared our innovative 3D knitting process. Princess Anne expressed a keen interest in our work – particularly the research and development we are doing with wool and fibres. Her fascination with our efforts was a testament to our team's dedication and the innovative strides we’re making in the industry.
“Her Royal Highness remarked on how early we were in developing a sustainable business model (back in 1998). She is fascinated by wool and fibres and was particularly curious about the research and development we are doing.” — CEO, Peri Drysdale
Princess Anne also spoke of how her brother, King Charles, has been championing the use of natural fibres over synthetics for many years. CEO Peri Drysdale mentioned a research and development project she had 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.”
To show our appreciation for their visit and for their continued commitment to sustainability, we gifted our royal visitors some of our finest garments. Princess Anne received a luxurious Kapua Wrap and a Mountainsilk Half Zip, chosen with her love for outdoor pursuits in mind. For Sir Tim, we chose a Cassum Half Zip Sweater with coordinating gloves and a hat.
This royal visit was more than just an exciting event for us; it was a validation of our efforts and a reminder of why we do what we do. We believe in creating fashion that doesn't cost the earth, and it's heartening to see influential figures like Princess Anne and Sir Tim Laurence share our vision.