Meghan Markle Unveils Sneak Peek of Her 'Powerful' New Fashion Line: 'Not a Hand Out, a Hand Held'
The Duchess' five-piece workwear capsule collection includes a chic shift dress that costs $32!
While Meghan’s fashion collaboration with Smart Works officially launches in London on Thursday afternoon, two pieces from the collection have already been unveiled online and are available to buy now.
“Since moving to the U.K., it has been deeply important to me to meet with communities and organizations on the ground doing meaningful work and to try to do whatever I can to help them amplify their impact,” the Duchess of Sussex said in a statement released by Buckingham Palace on Thursday. “It was just last September that we launched the Together cookbook with the women of the Hubb Kitchen in Grenfell. Now, one year later, I am excited to celebrate the launch of another initiative of women supporting women, and communities working together for the greater good.”
Titled the “Smart Set Capsule Collection,” the workwear pieces include a crepe shift dress from Marks & Spencer which retails for just $24 and is available in three colors: black, red and blue. Described as a “staple in your autumn wardrobe,” the knee-length dress has three-quarter length sleeves with a split mandarin collar and is iron-free.
Also in the collection — but immediately sold out — is a classic leather tote bag from John Lewis & Partners retailing for just under $135. Made from subtly grained, soft-to-touch leather, the bag is a “lightweight, versatile and practical, weekday accessory for the modern woman.” Functional as well as stylish, the bag features three internal pockets and a credit card slot. Made in India, the straps are also detachable and adjustable.
“The first release of the Smart Set Tote has sold out online, with a second release coming shortly,” a rep said in a statement. “However, we have plenty of stock in our shops across the country.”
Using the one-for-one model, both retailers have pledged to donate one dress or bag to Smart Works for every piece bought. Meghan is quoted under the product description for each product: “Not a handout, a hand held” – HRH The Duchess of Sussex, Patron of Smart Works.
In January, Meghan was appointed royal patron of the charity, which aims to provide clothing and coaching to unemployed women in need. In British Vogue’s September issue, which Meghan guest edited, she wrote about her passion for Smart Works. “The reason I was drawn to Smart Works is that it reframes the idea of charity as a community, which for me, is incredibly important: It’s a network of women supporting and empowering other women in their professional pursuits,” the royal mom wrote.
The other retailers involved in the project include Jigsaw and Meghan’s friend Misha Nonoo, who will also be selling her pieces at her New York pop-up store. Nonoo’s shirt, which Meghan stepped out in on Wednesday, retails for $125.
“My outfit made me feel like a boss – powerful and strong,” a Smart Works client, Kate, said in a statement released by the palace on Thursday. “It just made me feel amazing; reminding me of how far I have come and the future I have in front of me.”
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Added Juliet Hughes-Hallett, chair and founder of Smart Works: “The Smart Set capsule collection will make a significant difference in our ability to dress our clients in the high-quality clothes and accessories they need, giving her the opportunity regain her confidence, look fabulous and get the job.”