Meghan’s Collaboration with British Retailers for Smart Works

We are back with a quick post on a couple of topics: a closer look at the content inside the British Vogue issue Meghan guest-edited, and more about the Duchess’s plan for a capsule clothing collection supporting the Smart Works charity, one of her patronages.

We’ll start with the Smart Works initiative. We did add this to the post late yesterday afternoon but thought it merited another look. Many will recall the organization provides “high-quality interview clothes and interview training to unemployed women in need.” Below, the Duchess with a Smart Works client in January.

The details:

  • Meghan is partnering with British retailers Marks & SpencersJohn LewisJigsaw and designer Misha Nonoo, a personal friend, to create a capsule workwear collection.
  • The collection will “help equip the women of Smart Works with the key workwear essentials they need as they enter into the workplace.” For each item purchased at one of the four retailers, another will be donated to the charity.
  • The collection will launch this autumn.

Below, the Duchess doing interview prep with a Smart Works client. 

Today a full Instagram post about the project was published on the Sussex Royal Instagram page.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Spotlight on: Smart Works We are proud to be supporting a very special initiative this autumn for @SmartWorksCharity! After quiet visits to Smartworks over the last year, The Duchess was moved by the impactful work being done by this non profit organisation that helps women into the workforce, equipping them with both the skills and clothes they need to feel job-ready. Throughout her visits she noticed that while the donations were plentiful, they were also notably a combination of mismatched items and colours which weren’t always the right stylistic choices or sizes that didn’t necessarily “suit” the job at hand: to make a woman feel confident and inspired as she walked into her job interview. As a result, launching this autumn, The Duchess will be supporting a collective to help equip the women of Smart Works with the key workwear essentials they need as they enter into the workplace. This initiative is supported by four generous brands who share the vision to empower the women of Smart Works to look and feel 💯 as they bravely venture in to what can often be a daunting environment for those who have been out of the job market. The brands have come together to work towards this united force for good, “[reframing] the idea of charity as community,” as The Duchess writes in a piece for this month’s British Vogue. They will follow the 1:1 model where an item from the collection purchased is an item shared with a woman of Smart Works because “not only does this allow us to be part of each other’s story; it reminds us we are in it together.” For more information on how you can be part of another woman’s success story visit @smartworkscharity. Special thanks to: @JohnLewisandPartners, @MarksandSpencer, @MishaNonoo, @InsideJigsaw for supporting this very special organisation. And to find out more, read the September issue of @BritishVogue and stay tuned for more exciting updates this autumn. Photo©️SussexRoyal

A post shared by The Duke and Duchess of Sussex (@sussexroyal) on

UPDATE:  John Lewis, Jigsaw LondonMisha Nonoo and Marks & Spencer shared their delight and excitement regarding the announcement of the collaboration via Instagram —

We’re delighted to be one of the retailers working with @SmartWorksCharity on a capsule collection that helps women going back into work, supported by The Duchess of Sussex. This forms part of our ongoing collaboration with the charity, and we are thrilled to be involved in its latest exciting project (alongside Marks & Spencer, Jigsaw and Misha Nonoo), which puts women’s confidence and empowerment first.” — John Lewis and Partners

We couldn’t be prouder to be part of this unique capsule collection with @smartworkscharity which helps women going back into work. Such a brilliant initiative, alongside John Lewis, Marks & Spencer, Misha Nonoo and Supported by @sussexroyal. We’ll be sharing more as the partnership unfolds.” — Inside Jigsaw

We are honored and proud to be a part of this unique capsule collection with @Smartworkscharity which empowers women by helping them find new job opportunities. We are excited to work alongside @marksandspencerfashionpr@insidejigsaw,
@johnlewisandpartners, and @sussexroyal. We look forward to sharing more of this unbelievable partnership with you!” — Misha Nonoo

Marks & Spencer is excited and proud to be a part of this unique capsule collection working alongside John Lewis & Partners, Jigsaw & Misha Nonoo for @Smartworkscharity 💙 We look forward to sharing more information with you all very soon! #RG @sussexroyal Grab a copy of the September issue of @britishvogue to read more 💙” — Marks and Spencer

Many will know this isn’t the first clothing collection with which Meghan has been involved. In the spring of 2016, she designed a collection with Canadian retailer Reitmans

Above, one of the styles from that collection, the Meghan Shirt (no longer available). Meghan even modeled pieces from the line. 

We’re both very excited about the upcoming collection. It’s likely it will create record-breaking lines at stores and could cause an internet meltdown!

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Now for Susan Courter’s thoughts about the September issue of British Vogue. (Susan Kelley hasn’t had time to read it yet!)

The September issue is one of the most compelling editions of the magazine I’ve read. I sped through the pages rapidly, swipe…swipe… swipe! I’d already read Meghan’s guest-editor letter yesterday, so I kept going, and wham! This prose by Matt Haig stopped me in my tracks. Titled A note from the beach, Meghan describes it as “a personal favourite.”  The writer noted on his Twitter feed, “A note from the beach” was not written as a poem but as part of a story. I found it to be a story with a strong message. The powerful statement is clear when you read the entire piece which you can see here.

One of my favorite pieces was the interview Prince Harry did with primatologist and environmentalist Dr. Jane Goodall. More from this Sussex Royal Instagram post:

Earlier this summer HRH the Duke of Sussex met with world-renowned ethologist Dr. Jane Goodall for an intimate conversation on environment, activism, and the world as they see it. This special sit-down was requested by The Duchess of Sussex, who has long admired Dr. Goodall and wanted to feature her in the September issue of British Vogue…

From the story in the magazine, with Harry’s question in boldface type.

What I love about your work is that you focus on the younger generation. [When] you start to peel away all the layers, all the taught behaviour, the learned behaviour, the experienced behaviour, you start to peel all that away and at the end of the day, we’re all humans.

Especially if you get little kids together, there’s no difference! They don’t notice, “My skin’s white, mine’s black,” until somebody tells them.

The story includes perspective from Dr. Goodall about her life’s work.

When I was 10 years old and wanted to go to Africa, everybody laughed at me. It was only my mother who said, “If you really want this, you’ll have to work really hard and take advantage of every opportunity.” And I wish Mum was around to know the number of people who said, “Jane, thank you, you’ve taught me because you did it, I can do it, too.”

The Duke also asked about Roots and Shoots, a program started by Dr. Goodall that provides vocational training to young people.

You can download the issue ($3) through the British Vogue app; the print edition will be available Friday.

After reading a few specific articles and skimming the fashion trends (and ads – there are a lot of ads), I started back at the beginning and took in each page individually because I did not want to miss any details.

In her Guest Editor’s Letter Meghan mentioned several Commonwealth fashion labels, as well as a number of ethical/sustainable brands. She also covers Luminary Bakery, the Olio food-sharing app, and a piece about cruelty on social medial by research professor Brené Brown.

These are three pieces I would encourage readers not to skip:

  • Luminary Bakery (pg 178) is an all-female London-based bakery which provides disadvantaged women with an opportunity for employment and training, as well as a safe and professional environment where women have the chance to grow and build a future.
  • OLIO (pg 198) is a UK based food sharing app founded by two women, Tessa Clarke and Saasha Celestial-One. The idea is to share surplus food rather than throw it away. The food can be nearing its sell-by date in local stores, spare home-grown vegetables, or even groceries in your fridge. You open the app, add a photo of the item with a description, followed by information on when and where the item is available for pick-up.
  • And finally, Brené Brown (pg 192) is a researcher and expert on vulnerability and courage. Her piece focuses on coping with social media cruelty. I very much encourage all those using social media to read this short, powerful article.

Some other not to miss details:

The Trend section covers sustainable fashion labels, including two the Duchess has worn, Outland Denim and Veja. Below, Outland Denim’s Harriet jeans ($199 at Australia’s Iconic stores).

And here you see Meghan’s Veja V-10 sneakers in white and black ($150 at Nordstrom).

Along with these two labels, we’re introduced to three additional companies with a focus on sustainability and ethical fashion practices. KitX, from Australian designer Kit Willow; London and Stockholm-based BITE Studio; and Mother of Pearl. You can check out these planet-friendly brands on page 155.

Here are a few looks from KitX.

(L–R) KitX — Green Future V-neck dress, $487 / Loose flared trousers, $405 / Pollen printed shirt, $157 (sale) and High waisted trousers, $250 (sale)

BITE Studios is based in both London and Stockholm, Sweden. The name is an acronym for “By Independent Thinkers for Environmental Progress.” BITE is the opposite of a fast-fashion label, saying they want to “actively slow down the pace of consumption,” selling garments in with timeless lines that will have a longer lifespan than trendier pieces. All of the brand’s clothing is made in London.

(L–R) BITE Studios — 10-4 organic slim trousers, €560.00 ($624) / Organic silk shirt, €440.00 ($490) / 13-3 organic short sleeve dress, €890.00 ($992).

More about BITE Studios from Vogue Australia: “We plan to buy back the collection pieces from customers, give them 20 percent off their next purchase, and then create new pieces from the old stock,” explains BITE Studio’s COO Veronika Kant. The idea is to create a circular system, redesigning, reusing and reselling the clothing. “We want to create a real connection between the client and the garment,” explains Kant.

Mother of Pearl describes itself as making “fashion with wit, heart, and conscience – contemporary design with attitude that doesn’t cost the earth.) Below, styles from the brand.

Net-a-Porter: Malia button-embellished floral-jacquard midi dress, $635 / Sky open-back Lyocell jumpsuit, $765 / Velda polka-dot silk-satin wrap dress, $1,050
Mother of Pearl — Malia button-embellished floral-jacquard midi dress / Johanna dress, $595 / Petra shirt, $450  / Nancy jogger, $450 / Marita Asymmetric Pleated Midi Skirt, $595 – more at Saks.

Another item that caught my eye was an overview of on-trend fashion colors (page 222). The colors really grabbed me; pale aqua, soft whites and sandy beige with touches of copper and gold. This is a nice guide for wardrobe inspiration.

And finally, I was struck by this image accompanying the Matt Haig piece, “A note from the beach.”

The photo is by photographer Richard Misrach.

LINKAGE:

  • Article links:
    • Meghan’s Guest Editor Letter is here
    • Editor-in-Chief Edward Enninful’s Editor’s Letter is here
    • The Prince Harry interview with Dr. Jane Goodall is here 
    • The story about the Smart Works initiative is here
    • A look at the fifteen women featured as Forces for Change on the cover is here 
    • Click here to read about New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s cover shoot, the first-ever done by video link!
    • Peter Lindbergh photographed all fifteen women for the cover; read more about that process here
    • Learn more about another of women featured on the magazine’s Forces for Change cover, 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, in this story 
    • A separate piece titled Dr. Jane Goodall’s Life in Pictures is here 
    • Read about Richard Misrach’s On the Beach collection in Smithsonian Magazine.
    • A gallery of Richard Misrach’s work can be found here and additional images here.

6 Comments

  1. Larissa August 26, 2019 at 1:14 pm

    I am late to the party on this one but wanted to thank you for such a great post. I had the last Vogue on the rack in my hand when I went to Waitrose last week, but couldn’t commit to buying it despite the reasonable price for such a thick magazine (you’re right, that was a LOT of ads). I also love the styles you highlighted from the sustainable brands – could see Meghan wearing several of those!

  2. Laura August 10, 2019 at 6:10 pm

    Thanks for the really thorough and informative post! I hope the fashion line does well and helps the charity. It will be fun for Meghan to combine a charity close to her heart with fashion, which she obviously loves. A serendipitous combination that will benefit such a good cause 🙂

  3. Jessica August 3, 2019 at 10:24 am

    Can’t wait to see the capsule collection!

  4. ElizaMo August 2, 2019 at 11:37 am

    Thanks for such a great post on this innovative clothing line that Meghan is fostering in aid of the excellent SmartWorks. I really appreciate the work you’ve done on lines that Meghan has worked with before and the types of garment and style she could well be putting together in the new range. I’m looking forward to seeing a great shirt in the range somewhere!

    Along with the Vogue cover this all seems part of an imaginative and creative approach to royal patronage which I heartily applaud.

  5. Lauren August 2, 2019 at 11:14 am

    Love Susan C’s digest of Meghan’s special issue of Vogue! I’m hunting down the magazine stateside at a Barnes and Noble sometime this weekend. Can’t wait to look closer at all the details you mentioned! <3 Much love to both Susans and your unique, granular perspective on all things Meghan. I live for these posts!

  6. Jackie August 1, 2019 at 11:11 am

    I love this charity and just donated! Keep up the great work Duchess!

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