Kate Middleton’s Sustainable Style Revolution Explained: Dress Repeats, Vintage Fashion and the Queen’s Recycled Legacy

The death of Queen Elizabeth II has given the Princess of Wales a greater level of royal seniority, and her inimitable style has undoubtedly seen a change to match her flashy new title (and legacy of the magical royal legacy).

Rarely does a royal debut an entirely new outfit, favoring instead a recycled look to tailor vintage pieces for red carpets and royal tours. With only two percent of the world’s garment workers paid a livable wage and the fashion industry contributing nearly ten percent of global carbon emissions annually, it’s never been more refreshing to see the country’s most influential style icon making a case for earth-conscious fashion choices.

WATCH: Kate Middleton’s Best Dresses of the Last Ten Years

Princess Kate wears more than just clothes. Prince William’s wife, Prince William’s consort, ardent patron and senior figure in the royal family, recently expressed an understandable desire not to cut back on her sartorial preferences.

Echoing that sentiment, the palace revealed it would stop crediting designers for royal outfits except for special occasions to refocus the nation’s attention on Kate’s work. and yet, The princess’s fashion influence continues to reign supreme.

The ‘Kate effect’ shows no sign of abating. When an original sells out, the high street giant is quick to create a spoof of her latest wear – ASOS even created a look similar to the royal’s iconic vintage Roland Mouret Bardot dress. Top Gun: Maverick Premier

© Getty
The Princess of Wales recreated a vintage Roland Mouret dress on the red carpet

While the Princess of Wales is unlikely to scroll through fashion forums dedicated to her own sartorial influence, the royal is undoubtedly aware of the power of her fashion choices.

Hello! sat down with royal fashion expert Miranda Holder, who weighed in on Princess Kate’s unexpected rise as an ethical royal it-girl.

Read more: Princess Kate’s most shocking fashion mishaps she handled like a queen

The Princess of Wales explains the sustainable fashion revolution

“The moment Kate started dating Prince William changed the country. It was a truly fairytale moment; a ‘normal’ marrying a prince,” said Miranda, who earned her fashion streak as a celebrity stylist.

Kate’s long-running love story with the future king immediately positions her as a relatable figure – his Fashion is the easiest element to replicate royalty.

Kate Middleton and Prince William fell in love at university© The Middleton Family / Getty
Kate Middleton and Prince William fell in love at university

“Women around the world wanted to be Kate Middleton, and in the early days when Kate mostly favored high street brands, her fans was Being able to imitate him, even if it was just a token nod,” Miranda explained.

“She manages to perfectly walk that awkward line between fashion and the restrictive etiquette of working royalty – and All this makes for completely compelling viewing, keeping us hooked.

According to Miranda, the Princess of Wales has long had the power to revolutionize the fashion industry. While her priorities are very firmly set on improving the world through her charity work, the royal is effortlessly encouraging her loyal followers to adopt a more sustainable approach to fashion – even though that’s not her intention.

“Kate is one of the royal family’s most popular dress repeaters, frequently re-wearing favorite outfits over and over again,” says Miranda.

The Princess of Wales wore an Alexander McQueen dress to the BAFTAs in 2019© Getty
The Princess of Wales first wore her Alexander McQueen dress to the BAFTAs in 2019.

“I personally loved her divisive BAFTAS look this year.” For me, transforming that beautiful McQueen gown into a new shape after she wore it to the same event before (the rest of us would probably never dream of) was sheer genius. , the controversial opera gloves simply emphasize the truth. It was tactical dressing at its best.

Catherine, Princess of Wales attends the EE BAFTA Film Awards 2023 at Royal Festival Hall on February 19, 2023 in London, England.  The Prince of Wales, President of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) and the Princess will attend.© Getty
Princess Kate recreated the same dress at the BAFTAs in 2023

Since she stepped into her late mother-in-law’s shoes as Princess of Wales, the iteration of the royal outfit has only increased.

From reinventing Alexander McQueen to upcycling former flattering fits, Kate’s stance on sustainable fashion continues to position her as an eco-wear icon.

Can we ever expect the Princess of Wales to wear only sustainable brands?

“In an ideal world, with Kate’s influence, the princess would wear only the most ethical and sustainable brands, and I personally would love to see her wear a little less rust,” Miranda said.

“But Zara’s strength is that it’s extremely accessible, meaning anyone is able to buy their own little piece of Kate’s wardrobe.”

As far as giving up high street fashion entirely, Miranda suggests that’s not a likely reality.

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge visits the Copenhagen Child Mental Health Project at the University of Copenhagen on February 22, 2022 in Copenhagen, Denmark.© Getty
The Princess of Wales has a fondness for Zara

“We must remember that this Royal policy is to remain as politically neutral as possible – something that Kate delivers with grace and elegance – which will no doubt be another reason for her mix of high and low ends to match slow and fast fashion.”

The allure of fast fashion has yet to be eclipsed by its more sustainable sister – but thankfully, there are now different ways of dressing that have a much lower impact on the planet.

Miranda believes that the speed with which high street brands turn out low-cost catwalk looks can be an exciting and cheap way to keep your wardrobe updated, but fast fashion is no longer our go-to.

What is sustainable fashion?

Buy Rotation founder Eshita Kabra-Davis echoes Miranda’s sentiment that the Royals are changing the game by embracing the rental revolution. but what is Sustainable fashion?

“Sustainable fashion applies the idea that the clothes we wear are made and consumed in a way that protects the environment and the people who produce the clothes. There are many ways that one can adopt sustainable fashion choices; Like investing in sustainable brands, buying less but better clothes, or renting their clothes instead of buying new,” explains Eshita.

Read: 7 easy steps to make your clothes more sustainable

Catherine, Princess of Wales and Prince William, Prince of Wales attend the Earthshot Awards 2022 at MGM Music Hall at Fenway on December 02, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts.
The Princess of Wales looked stunning in a rented dress at the Earthshot Prize Awards in 2022 – a royal first

“Royals embracing the rental revolution is a positive step in the right direction, especially because they have significant purchasing power among the non-Gen Z generation.”

Just as Kate rented out her dress for the Earthshot Prize Awards, Lady Amelia Windsor lists her dress in rotation and often rents out pieces as well. Emulating royal elegance in everyday wear has never been easier thanks to rental platforms like By Rotation rapidly revolutionizing the fashion industry, Changing narratives of fast fashion and throwaway culture.

Princess Kate of The Vampire's Wife 'Falconetti' dress available for rent by rotation© Getty
Princess Kate of The Vampire’s Wife ‘Falconetti’ dress available for rent by rotation

Royalty-favorite brands like The Vampire’s Wife have more than 276 outfits on the app in rotation, and according to Eshita, ‘likes’ are up 76 percent from just 30 days ago.

“The green falconetti dress worn by the Princess of Wales for her and Prince William’s first official joint portrait has been rented over 25 times in by rotation and continues to be one of our most popular rentals,” said Eshita.

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge attends a special reception hosted by the Governor General of Belize in celebration of Her Majesty The Queen's Platinum Jubilee in Cahal Peche, Belize on March 21, 2022.© Getty
Another popular fare is Princess Kate’s alluring metallic gown in bye rotation

“Other popular royal-endorsed brands like Maje and ba&sh also have popular styles on the app,” she adds.

If renting doesn’t tempt you, buying second hand is just as strong for your carbon footprint – something the Princess of Wales has long advocated.

Recent research by Vinted shows that when you buy a second-hand fashion item instead of a new one on the app, you save an average of 1.8 kg of CO₂e. Simply put, thrifty fashion fans avoided 453 kilotons of carbon emissions last year – Equivalent to taking more than 325,000 cars off the road annually in the EU.

While our sartorial agendas sometimes long for some dopamine-inducing or trend-leading pieces, Kate’s stellar capsule wardrobe filled with an arsenal of vintage pieces, tailored fits and quality staples proves how dressing like royalty really doesn’t hurt the planet.

More: 5 fashion editors share their favorite picks of the season

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