When the Duchess of Sussex entered the stage this afternoon to launch her collection of capsule lockers for the Smart Works charity, it was clear that she was in her element. Meghan Markle clamped each side of the stage in front of an invited audience on the roof terrace of the John Lewis department store on Oxford Street in London and then went on to talk about her latest project for almost seven minutes – without notes.
“When I first moved to the UK, it was incredibly important for me to get in touch with people on the ground who did really important work and one of the places I went to very early was Smart Works, “she said, remembering that, through repeated visits to the organization, she began to wonder how best to help.
These questions eventually led to the launch of Smart Set, the capsule collection of five essential wardrobes that will be sold in stores and online. For every item purchased, one is also given to the Smart Works charity. It was Meghan who came up with the idea for the collection after he had noticed that donations to the organization – which helps women succeed in job interviews partly by helping them with new outfits – didn’t always have the right style or size.
“There was a rack of about 40 or 50 lilac colored blazers,” Meghan Markle recalled smiling today. “Don’t get me wrong now, it’s a great blazer. And I’m sure for someone, it’s exactly what she wants to wear. But for most women when you go in there and want to have a job interview and you get up you want to feel very good and feel confident, you want to wear the garments that make you feel that way. ”
Unexpectedly, the duchess had no problem in convincing heavyweights Marks & Spencer, John Lewis & Partners and Jigsaw to come aboard with her friend Misha Nonoo. They established themselves in a collection consisting of a dress, trousers, a bag, a blazer and a shirt. As Meghan happily stated at the end of her speech, one of the items – a £ 109 ($ 135) leather carrying case – was sold out online before the launch even began.
Meghan’s appearance – her first official engagement after what can be loosely identified as royal “maternity leave” – came after a summer in which the Sussexes received much criticism from parts of the media and the public. Stories and comments about their carbon footprint after their flights on private planes followed Prince Harry in the launch of his sustainable travel initiative Travalyst earlier this month, where he could not escape accusations of hypocrisy.
However, such parallels could not be drawn today. And while Meghan Markle spoke her words with the ease that only the most experienced speakers can reach in public, there can be no doubt about what this duchess stands for and how much this project means to her.
“As a woman, it is one hundred percent our responsibility – I think – to support and uplift each other, to defend each other if we want to succeed,” she said. “In order not to let each other fail, but to really be together and to say and say to each other:” I want to help you. “And you may never meet that person, but you know when you put on that blazer or put on that shirt or you wear that bag or put on those pants or dress, that other women on the other side of this country wear it because you made that purchase. “
And in case someone doubted, she said, “This is the kind of work I’ve been doing for a long time, and being able to do it here in my new home in the UK means a lot to me.”
Regarding working on the collection, Misha Nonoo told T&C that Meghan was an ‘accomplished professional’.
“I had already heard of Smart Works and was a big fan of the work they did,” said Nonoo. “It was so close to my values to enable women and to dress women for their professional activities, so I couldn’t say no to it.” because that is our signature. “
“It was clear that the shirt needed to be adjusted,” she added. “And fits more closely with the body, so that it was something that looked smart when it was put in and under a jacket and was not too big. So it was a bit more of a classic style that she was looking for. “
Meghan Markle greets the women of Smart Works with a warm smile and hugs and has clearly secured a place in their affection. “She’s great. How she set it up and talked about how we are together and there for each other is something great. More women should be like that,” said Smart Works customer Kate-Lily de Grast-Johnson, who lives and works in London.
Dionne Johnson, who lives in Hackney, London, met Meghan Markle for the first time during her visit to Smart Works in January, when the Duchess was announced as patron. Dionne works as a Resident Engagements Officer for a housing corporation and got a job after Smart Works gave her the confidence to succeed in interviews. “Meghan Markle is about empowering women,” she said. “So for her to be part of Smart Works, it increases the profile. Since I met Meghan, friends of mine had never heard of charity, but they have heard it now. “
Indeed, with John Lewis rooftop buzzing with influential figures and dozens of photographers and TV crews recording her arrival and departure, there can be no doubt that this capsule collection has given people attention. And Meghan Markle knows exactly what she wants that impact to mean.
“So that’s great!” She said at the end of her speech about the sale of the carrier bag. “And my hope is for each of the brands, if you have that level of success that you see very early, to hopefully reinforce what you could already be so generous in making your contribution and expanding for just a little more so that everyone can play a role in this shared success story. “