Between taking care of baby Archie and attending to her royal duties, the Duchess of Sussex released a new fashion capsule collection, called the ‘Smart Set’, on September 12th. The five-piece set, which quickly sold out, included essential items for working women such as shift dresses, a tote bag, a jacket, trousers, and a white shirt. Designed by Marks & Spencer, John Lewis & Partners, Jigsaw, and Misha Nonoo, the stylish collection is Meghan’s way of supporting underprivileged women. For every piece sold, one piece of clothing is donated to women in need.
Helping Underprivileged Women with ‘Smart Works’
The capsule collection is made in support of Smart Works, a charity dedicated to helping unemployed women rise above their circumstances. The group provides coaching and training sessions to help underprivileged women regain their confidence and break long-term streaks of unemployment. With Meghan’s help, the charity has soared in popularity and gained enough funding to clothe underprivileged women for a whole year.
The Duchess herself wore the Smart Shirt and trousers from the line when she debuted the collection at a John Lewis store. Meghan was enthusiastic about the project, saying, “As women, it is one hundred percent our responsibility, I think, to support and uplift each other, to champion each other as we aim to succeed.” Speaking about her advocacy and the power of clothing for the underprivileged, she adds, “And you may not ever meet that person, but you’ll know when you put on that blazer or put on that shirt, or you carry that tote or put on those trousers or that dress, that some other woman on the other side of this country is wearing that piece because you made that purchase.”
Meghan’s support of the charity comes as no surprise, as she has been known to use fashion to help others in the past. Indeed, The Guardian reports that the Duchess uses the so-called “Meghan effect” to good use — that is, she selects fashion items from small businesses with a good cause to double their sales. Just by thoughtfully wearing certain pieces, she can propel an entire brand into the spotlight, a strength she played on during the launch of Smart Works.
Building Your Own ‘Smart Set’
Just because her Smart Set quickly sold out doesn’t mean you have to sit around waiting for new stock. It’s easy enough to build your own capsule wardrobe and take inspiration from Meghan’s handpicked items while waiting.
You can start with some basic shift dresses or any kind of work-appropriate simple dress that’s easy to pair with a one-button jacket. If you’re more of a trousers type of girl, opt for a crisp white shirt and that same jacket. Woman Within’s basic button-down shirts are ideal for formal settings like job interviews or meetings. These are the perfect — and body-positive — alternative to the stylish piece in the Duchess’ capsule collection, created by designer Misha Nonoo. Meanwhile, if you’re inspired by the black and tan tote bags designed by John Lewis & Partners, opt for Arket’s 48-hour bag designed for women on-the-go, as it’s roomy and versatile enough to take from the office to the gym.
With Meghan’s help, there’s no telling just how far Smart Works’ influence will reach to benefit underprivileged women across the world. For now, those who want to participate can click a button on their site to be notified when an item is restocked.