'It still amazes me that the King has been so passionate' – the duo putting the monarch's garden nettles and waste to good use

We sat down with design duo VIN+OMI – who have the freedom to roam the royal gardens for an unexpected reason

King Charles
(Image credit: GettyImages)

HRH King Charles III's commitment to the environment is perhaps already no secret. In recent years the monarch has designed an organic garden at Highgrove, served as a figurehead at COP26, and established a sustainable market initiative that promotes action toward a greener future. Arguably most unexpectedly, however, he has opened his royal residences to fashion designers VIN + OMI, who create textiles from his garden waste (yes, really). 

'We met the King before Harry and Megan's wedding when we were invited for tea. He was aware of our work with the environment,' the designers say in an exclusive interview with H&G. 'We discussed a new program we had started [that focuses on UK landowners and their plant waste], which sparked a conversation with the-then Prince. One week later, we were invited to Highgrove to look around his gardens to see how we could utilize Highgrove House's waste.'

The solution? At The King's suggestion, VIN + OMI collected waste nettles from the garden to create a new-to-market textile. They developed new fiber bonding and plant preparation methods to create garments that have since graced London Fashion Week's runways.

'The process was very educational and innovative. We studied the biodiversity of one garden patch and initially decided to experiment with what we could do with waste nettles. It was important to truly understand the environmental impact we would make by taking any plant material'. 


VIN+OMI is an award-winning fashion design duo who are based in London but also work internationally. The pair, who are known for their sustainable approach to fashion, have established a relationship with King Charles, and use his garden waste to create textiles and garments shown at London Fashion Week. Debbie Harry, Michelle Obama, Beyoncé and Kate Moss are also known admirers of their work.


VIN+OMI working in Highgrove

(Image credit: VIN+OMI)

The designers worked closely with the king's Head Gardener and Assistant Head Gardener, who are 'wonderful in their support' and regularly update the designers on what upcoming waste products they could expect from the garden

'Highgrove is a truly innovative and very thought-out garden that is sustainable in the way it has been designed. There is so much evidence in the garden of how the King puts sustainability to the fore in everything he does there.'

The duo says that collaborating with King Charles is both 'fun and holistic' – with the monarch offering them produce from his collection of sustainable gardens around the UK.  

'We receive suggestions from the King on specific plant species before studying to see if there is any scope for development. An example was when he was visiting his grandmother’s estate in Scotland, the Castle of Mey – he came across fields of bog cotton and sent us a box to see if we could use it. That led to us creating a garment made from bog cotton and examining a new plant.'


Collecting materials from Highgrove Garden

(Image credit: VIN+OMI)

To date, they have developed a range of textiles and garments alongside King Charles – including pieces from nettles, bog cotton, yarn from wood, and cow parsley – along with horse hair from the stables. They have also turned recycled plastic plant pots into jewelry – all of which are exhibited at their eco-fashion shows during London Fashion Week.


(Image credit: VIN+OMI)

'When we started the collaboration, we had almost 20 years of understanding sustainability and environmental, educational, and social impact. But it still amazes me the King has been so passionate about this much longer than we have. He has a vast knowledge of the subject that perhaps has been underestimated. He has an incredible knowledge of plants and planting.'

It is unsurprising, therefore, that the designer's relationship will continue with the king following his coronation on May 6th. Marking a new chapter in their partnership, the king has granted VIN+OMI access to more estates, including Sandringham (which is currently receiving a garden makeover of its own).

'The studies of these new estates will produce new waste materials for us to develop into new projects.  From our new work at Sandringham, we will be revealing something new this September at our show during London Fashion Week.'

Before then is, of course, the celebration. And we're getting ready our picks of the chicest memorabilia below...

Megan Slack
Head of Celebrity Style News

Megan is the Head of Celebrity Style News at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes, before becoming H&G's News Editor in April 2022. She now leads the Celebrity/ News team. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.