HRH The Prince of Wales has visited the Emma Willis house of shirt making at the company’s 18th century Gloucester townhouse factory.
The Prince met every member of staff; cutters, seamstresses and pattern makers including those who had trained under the company’s Conde Nast Sewing Scholarship set up by Emma and Conde Nast International chairman Jonathan Newhouse, an earning and learning project teaching young people to sew, creating rewarding jobs and vital to the future of our fashion industry.
The graduates introduced included 20 year old Casey Taylor who recently relocated from the North of England and she fought back tears as she bravely explained how the poverty and lack of jobs in their area drove many to suicide, including her father. Casey was introduced to Emma by her uncle, former serviceman Simon Taylor who met Emma at the Military Rehabilitation Hospital she visited for 10 years, gifting smart clothing to the patients to help them with new lives post injury and medical discharge from the Forces.
Syrian refugees Nareen Hussain and Ibrahim Khalil had long conversations with His Royal Highness about their lives and work in Syria and Emma explained how their exceptional skills and work ethic had benefited the company. His Royal Highness expressed great sympathy and congratulated them on their skills.
Finally Emma introduced their charity Style for Soldiers’ Ambassador Andy Reid MBE and soldier artists Dougie Adams and Karl Tearney who the charity sponsors, both of whom have launched new careers while continuing the psychological healing process post trauma through creativity. His Royal Highness was deeply impressed by their work and they were moved by his understanding.
Emma said: “The sun shone through the windows of the beautiful 18th century townhouse as His Royal Highness, thoughtfully wearing one of his Emma Wills shirts, departed after a visit which brought great joy to everyone in the business.”
Read about the Emma Willis Scholarship scheme in the upcoming March issue of Business & Innovation Magazine. Out on March 4.