The Duchess of Sussex is creating clothing for women’s charity Smart Works, debuting in September.
Meghan Markle’s fashion affect continues to grow. The Duchess of Sussex announced in her guest-edited September issue of British Vogue that she is creating a workwear clothing collection, available at British retailers in the fall. The line benefits the London charity Smart Works, which helps provide clothing and interview coaching to unemployed women in two-hour appointments.
“When you walk into a Smart Works space, you’re met with racks of clothing and an array of bags and shoes. Sometimes, however, it can be a potpourri of mismatched sizes and colors, not always the right stylistic choices or range of sizes,” she said in the magazine. “To help with this, I asked Marks & Spencer, John Lewis & Partners, Jigsaw and my friend, the designer Misha Nonoo, if they were willing to design a capsule collection of more classic options for a workwear wardrobe.”
A rep for Nonoo told The Hollywood Reporter that the line will be ready in September. The Bahrain-born, London-raised designer has dressed Bella Hadid and Irina Shayk for the CFDA Fashion Awards. Nonoo attended the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Awards in 2015 with Markle and was among the guests at the royal wedding.
Markle added of the capsule, “Taking the idea further, many of the brands agreed to use the one-for-one model: for each item purchased by a customer, one is donated to the charity. Not only does this allow us to be a part of each other’s story, it reminds us we are in it together.”
Smart Works provides one-on-one interview training with an HR professional and a free complete outfit from a volunteer stylist. When the women seeking employment get hired, they can come back for five more items of clothing for the job.
“The reason why I was drawn to Smart Works is that it reframed the idea of charity as community…it’s a network of women supporting and empowering other women in their professional pursuits,” Markle said. “It’s the enthusiasm of the volunteers, the earnestness of the staff and, most of all, the blushing, bashful and beautiful smile that crosses a client’s face when she sees herself in the mirror, that I have found so profoundly compelling.”
Markle is also close with fashion designer Clare Waight Keller, artistic director of Givenchy, who designed her wedding gown. Now the Suits actress is developing women’s suits for a cause.