For every item bought during the limited sale of the collection, another was donated to the U.K. charity Smart Works

By Maria Pasquini
September 12, 2020 12:45 PM
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Meghan Markle
Smart Works/YouTube

Meghan Markle is celebrating the one-year anniversary of the release of her capsule clothing collection, which benefitted a charity near and dear to her heart.

Meghan, 39, launched the line last year with her patronage Smart Works, an organization that helps women find employment with coaching tips and professional attire for their job interviews. For every item bought during the limited sale of the collection, another was donated to the U.K. charity, resulting in thousands of donations.

Within the past year, Smart Works has helped over 3,000 clients and 1,000 women have taken pieces from the collection, according to a press release.

In honor of the anniversary of the launch, the Duchess of Sussex sat down for a Zoom call with three clients who had found success thanks to the charity.

“I’ve heard all of your stories and I mean my goodness so much success with all the new job hires you have and just amazing to see what’s happened, especially with what everyone in the world has gone through in the past couple months,” Meghan said.

Reflecting on the importance of the organization, Meghan went on to note that the charity offers so much more than just “the clothes themselves.”

“All of that stuff is the exterior but it's what it does for you on the inside that ends up being the best accessory,” she explained. “It’s the confidence, it's what is built within, that is the piece that you walk out of that room with and walk into the interview with that will take you to the next layer of success — and that's what I love so much about the organization.”

Opening up last year about the inspiration behind the collection, Meghan shared that the pieces were designed based on her firsthand experience of what tended to be missing from donations made to the organization.

“When you walk into a Smart Works space you’re met with racks of clothing and an array of bags and shoes,” Meghan wrote in the September issue of British Vogue, which she guest edited. “Sometimes, however, it can be a potpourri of mismatched sizes and colors, 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,” she added. “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.”

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Meghan Markle celebrating the launch of her Smart Works collection in 2019
Mark Large - WPA Pool/Getty

Although no longer using her HRH title, Meghan continues to be a patron of the charity.

Where the site once included a section headed, “Our Royal Patron,” it now reads “The Duchess of Sussex.” Elsewhere, a page is now headlined, “Our Patron, The Duchess of Sussex,” whereas it previously read, “Our Royal Patron HRH The Duchess of Sussex.”

Since stepping away from royal life, Meghan and Prince Harry have since relocated to Santa Barbara, California, with their son Archie.