The Prince of Wales will Visit Emma Willis Ltd in Gloucester

The Prince of Wales shelters from the rain under an umbrella during a visit to Wesley Community Centre in Auckland, on the second day of the royal visit to New Zealand.


Monday 17th February 2020

The Prince of Wales will visit Emma Willis Ltd in Gloucester. His Royal Highness will be welcomed to Bearland House by Emma Willis MBE, founder of Emma Willis Ltd.

The Prince will tour the factory floor meeting staff and viewing each stage of the production process. He will visit the cutting room and meet the company’s cutters including two Syrian refugees employed by the company: Nareen Hussain and Ibrahim Khalil. His Royal Highness will also visit the sewing room where he will meet a number of Condé Naste Sewing Scholars. The Prince will hear about The Emma Willis Community Sewing School whilst in this room and will be introduced to its founder, Aysha Randera.

His Royal Highness will then be taken to the finishing and embroidery room to meet members of staff before meeting injured service personnel sponsored by the company’s charity Style for Soldiers. The Prince will view “Art in the Aftermath”, a small exhibition of paintings and poetry created by the injured service personnel.

Finally, His Royal Highness will unveil a commemorative plaque to mark his visit and be invited to sign the visitors book.

Emma Willis Ltd was set up by Emma Willis in 1989 making bespoke shirts in a small highly skilled workroom in South East London. In 1999 she opened a shop on Jermyn Street and now employs 30 people. In 2010 Emma opened the factory at Bearland House in Gloucester where much of the hand cutting and sewing now takes place.

Emma’s passion for high quality British manufacturing and creating employment drives her business. Her aim is to continue to grow the Gloucester factory whilst maintaining all the traditional methods of shirt making and hand cutting, employing and training local, young people. The company also works with local charities in Gloucester to help support vulnerable people through employment. She now employs two highly skilled Syrian refugees at the factory in Gloucester.

Style for Soldiers:

In 2008 Emma started Style for Soldiers, a charity providing complimentary smart clothing, bespoke regimental walking sticks and reunion parties for injured service men and women. In 2018, the charity put on “Art in the Aftermath”, an exhibition of painting, poetry, film, and sculpture by injured service personnel recovering through the creative process from the trauma of war.

Condé Naste Sewing Scholars:

Emma is passionate about raising the profile of the seamstresses in the fashion business and encouraging young people to sew as careers. With the support of Condé Naste’s Chairman Jonathan Newhouse, in 2015 she set up the Condé Naste Sewing Scholarship for deserving young local persons not able to go to university or facing some sort of life challenge. The award consists of a five-year place at Emma’s factory where new arrivals are taught key sewing skills by head seamstress, Kath Muir.

Emma Willis Community Sewing School:

The Emma Willis Community Sewing School is run by Aysha Randera and provides free sewing training for local people at the local Gloucester Friendship Café. Attendees are taught on industrial sewing machines donated by the company.

Catch up on The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall’s most recent engagements, in the latest issue of Royal Life magazine.

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