See all the chic clothes in Meghan Markle's new charity fashion line
It was either a pleasing coincidence, or a stroke of marketing genius, that Meghan Markle's first official royal engagement after her maternity leave ended was the launch of the Smart Set capsule collection in London on Thursday.
After all, this range of versatile work essentials was designed to benefit Smart Works, an organisation that helps women return to the workplace.
One of the ways it does so is by providing vulnerable women, or those who've been unemployed for a long time, with outfits to attend job interviews.
However when the Duchess of Sussex, who is a patron of the charity, spent time looking through the donated garments on offer, she realised that the right type of clothes weren't always available.
At the launch, Markle recalled how she came across an entire rack of lilac-coloured blazers on one of her visits to Smart Works.
“Now don’t get me wrong, it’s a great blazer. And I’m sure for someone it’s exactly what she wants to be wearing," she said. “But for most women, when you’ve got a job interview, you want to be looking your very best and feel confident and you want to be wearing a piece of clothing that makes you feel that way. Not the leftovers that didn’t sell at the end of the season."
Her solution? To team up with four fashion brands to create the sort of classic workwear pieces the charity needed, and get them to sell them in-store and online using a 1:1 scheme.
"When you buy any item in the Smart Set capsule collection, the same item will be given to a Smart Works client, and with it, the confidence and support she needs to enter the workforce and take an important step in building a career," Markle explained in a press statement.
The five-piece collection includes a dress from Marks & Spencer, a blazer and matching trousers from Jigsaw, a tote bag from John Lewis, and a white shirt by fashion designer Misha Nonoo. The prices range from £19.50 to £199 (about R353 to R3,600).
The Telegraph reports that Markle's believed to have added one of each of these items to her wardrobe — she donned the trousers and white shirt at the launch event — and is "expected to wear them during her upcoming tour in South Africa".
The Duke and Duchess, along with their infant son, Archie, are set to arrive in Cape Town on September 23. Find out what's on their itinerary here.