TRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall visited the Yoox Net-A-Porter (YNAP) Tech Hub in White City, West London, today to mark its first anniversary. The Royal pair were given a guided tour of the operation by YNAP CEO Federico Marchetti and NET-A-PORTER and MR PORTER president Alison Loehnis.
They visited a showroom of NET-A-PORTER and MR PORTER product, highlighting British and sustainable brands, digital content from the sites including the inaugural showcase of the personalised homepage, demonstrating the companies vision for the future of online shopping, plus a Hackathon and fashion-related digital games attended by 65 local schoolgirls, part of YNAP’s commitment to female education and building parity within the technology industry.
Product showcased by NET-A-PORTER included faux fur from Stella McCartney, a cloak by Richard Quinn (whose London Fashion Week show in February was attended by The Queen), florals by Erdem and knitwear from Carcel, a sustainable brand launching on the site in June that offers training and job opportunities to female prisoners. MR PORTER highlighted the latest collection from its own label Mr P., alongside pieces from its Kingsman “costume to collection” range, inspired by the film franchise.
In anticipation of summer events that Their Royal Highnesses will be attending, key occasionwear was displayed from brands such as Ralph & Russo (rumoured to be the designers of Meghan Markle’s wedding dress). NET-A-PORTER is the only online stockist globally of the British couture brand.
The Tech Hub, which opened a year ago, is part of the group’s £1bn investment in technology and operations. More than 500 technologists work at the hub, which is designed to accelerate innovation and deliver best-in-class technologies, creating a new London centre for digital expertise.
“We are delighted that The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall visited our Tech Hub today to experience the game-changing innovations we will bring to online luxury customers thanks to our team here in London,” said Marchetti.
“We wanted to share with Their Royal Highnesses a very human side of technology. Today, our guests had the opportunity to see how artificial intelligence can be about warmth, beauty and craftsmanship. There is nothing more human than the desire for uniqueness. One of the great advances of digital technology is the power to personalise products and services on a vast scale,” he added.
Marchetti said the business also wanted to “share our vision for preparing the digital talents of tomorrow, when coding will be as essential as reading and writing“. “That’s why we were particularly proud to introduce our guests to 60 young women from local schools taking part in a hackathon today as part of our partnership with Imperial College London, one of our initiatives to help educate today’s students for the future,” he said.
At the end of the tour Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall were presented with small gifts including items from Alexander McQueen and Turnbull & Asser. The visit was part of a wider tour that celebrated technology, innovation and sustainable fashion in London.
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