A luminous Duchess of Sussex revealed her eagerly anticipated capsule collection in London yesterday, even wearing her own pieces to the event! The collection – a shirt, trousers and blazer, a dress, and a tote – is called the “Smart Set” with sales benefitting Smart Works, a patronage that Meghan announced her support for back in January.
For each item purchased from the Smart Set collection, an identical piece will be donated to Smart Works, whose aim is to properly outfit women reentering or joining the workforce. It follows the “1:1” model, which, according to the Duchess, will provide Smart Works clients with the basics one needs during the interview process. Interviewing skills and other trainings are also provided to women to give them”not a hand out, but a hand held”, according to the organisation’s web site.
Meghan was joined by the Smart Works staff and select clients, representatives of the initiative’s partners, and a few close friends. Gathered underneath a brilliant blue sky on the roof of John Louis and Partners on Oxford Street, the Duchess gave a revealing speech on how the initial idea took shape and eventually came into being.
Another key element in her remarks was the idea of transforming the idea of charity into one of community: “Community is going through your closet and saying ‘This is the blazer that I wore when I nailed my first job interview and got my dream job, and I don’t need that anymore because I’m where I want to be,” the Duchess said, “but if I’m able to share that blazer and be part of another woman’s success story, then that’s community.”
She also mentioned the similarities between the Smart Works collaboration and that of the Together cookbook, released to help the Grenfell victims: women’s empowerment.
And Smart Works has no shortage of success stories. Out of work for nearly a year and having applied to over 100 jobs, Kate told Smart Works before her interview that she had ‘lost herself and lacked confidence’. The organisation helped her rebuild her self confidence and gave her the proper clothes she needed to reflect her renewed sense of self-worth. “At Smart Works, you’ll experience people who are passionate about helping you not only to look your best, but to be the best you. It is an experience you won’t forget.”
Speaking to the media Smart Works client Kate-Lily de Grast-Johnson said, “She [Meghan] is wonderful. How she set it all up and talked about us being together and being there for each other is an amazing thing. More women need to be like that”.
Meghan worked closely with high street retailers Marks and Spencer , John Lewis, Jigsaw, and designer (and friend) Misha Nonoo to design the collection. Nonoo designed the white “Husband” shirt Meghan famously wore on her first public outing with then-boyfriend Prince Harry in 2017.
“I’d already heard of Smart Works and was a big fan of the work they did”, Nonoo said to the press. “It aligned so closely with my values of empowering women and dressing women for their professional pursuits so there was no way I’d say no it”.
The Duchess of Sussex has launched the Smart Works capsule collection in London.
The charity, of which Meghan is Patron, helps women to dress and prepare for interviews by providing them with key workwear essentials.#DuchessOfSussex @SmartWorksHQ #MeghanMarkle pic.twitter.com/PdqKy4MliU
— The Royal Family Channel (@RoyalFamilyITNP) September 12, 2019
Today’s launch marks the end of the Duchess’s maternity leave and her return to royal duties. She appeared to be in her element, wearing the Smart Set trousers with a crisp white shirt and matching cognac-coloured belt and courts. You can read more about her outfit here, including the choice her late mother-in-law’s bracelet, and butterfly earrings.
You can get the shift dress here, the trousers and jacket here, and the shirt here; the tote is currently sold out here.
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