The Duchess of Sussex is to bring out a women’s clothing line in aid of charity, she has revealed in in the new issue of British Vogue.
Meghan has persuaded major British retailers Marks & Spencer, John Lewis and Jigsaw – along with her designer friend, Mischa Nonoo – to create a ‘capsule’ collection of women’s workwear which will benefit Smart Works, a charity helping women back into the workplace.
Each time a piece is bought from one of the retailers, a ‘like for like’ item will be donated to the charity.
Meghan Markle (left) and Misha Nonoo at an awards ceremony in 2015. Meghan has persuaded major British retailers Marks & Spencer , John Lewis and Jigsaw – along with her designer friend, Mischa Nonoo – to create a ‘capsule’ collection of women’s workwear
Smart Works, one of Meghan’s first patronages, helps women, many from disadvantaged backgrounds, get interview-ready by providing them with a new outfit and coaching from a team of volunteer mentors.
Further details of the clothing line will be released in the autumn, according to a spokesman for the duchess.
But it is not Meghan’s first foray into fashion.
While working as an actress on the legal drama Suits in Toronto, before her marriage to Prince Harry, she had her own clothing line with local retailer, Reitmans, featuring vegan leather trousers.
In the September issue of British Vogue, which she has guest edited, Meghan writes: ‘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 colours, not always the right stylistic choices or range of sizes.
‘To help with this, I asked Marks & Spencer, John Lewis & Partners, Jigsaw and my friends, the designer Mischa Nonoo, if they were willing to design a capsule collection of more classic options for a workwear wardrobe.
‘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 part of each other’s story, it reminds us we are in it together. ‘
Meghan Markle (pictured above) is said to have been working on her project for Vogue whilst on maternity leave and PR experts have said it was an opportunity that could not be missed
A royal source said confirmed the idea had been Meghan’s and said the collection would be available later this year but no further details could be given at present.
The go-getting duchess’s idea follows on from her collaboration with the women of the Hubb Community Kitchen in West London, a communal kitchen that supports members of the community affected by the Grenfell Tower fire, to bring out a cookbook that has raised more than £500,000 so far,
Smart works offers a two hour dressing and coaching service for unemployed women with confirmed job interviews.
Each client has a personalised styling session with two Smart Works volunteer stylists, receiving a complete outfit of high quality clothes and accessories for their specific job interview, which are free and hers to keep.
After her dressing, each client receives a one-to-one interview preparation and coaching session with an experienced HR professional or senior manager.
Once a client is successful at interview, they are welcomed back to receive five additional pieces of clothing. This means that they can start their new role with a capsule working wardrobe which will see them through until their first pay cheque.
Meghan herself has said she will not be on the cover of the magazine. Her guest edits have been described as a ‘win win’ for both parties
Meghan writes of the charity: ‘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.’
It’s was Meghan’s passion for Smart Works that set the whole British Vogue ball rolling and promoted her to approach its editor in chief, Edward Enninful, she has revealed.
She writes:‘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.’
Mischa Nonoo is one of Meghan’s closest friends and is rumoured to have introduced her to Prince Harry as she was once married to Alexander Gilkes, a royal pal.
Meghan famously wore her £135 white ‘husband’ shirt the first time she publicly stepped out with the prince at the Toronto Invictus Games.
But she has been accused of cashing in on the friendship by advertising items worn by Meghan and her royal connection.
The husband shirt was advertised as the ‘one that sealed the deal’ with with a princess emoji in a sponsored post on Instagram.