Meghan Markle is no doubt a style icon. When she was an actress on Suits, her character was known for wearing very elegant, stylish clothes.
As a royal, fans continue to pay attention to and talk about everything that she wears. This means the Duchess of Sussex can use fashion to make a statement and show support for causes that she believes in.
It is not surprising, then, to learn that Duchess Meghan has often chosen to send messages about sustainability with her clothing items.
Meghan Markle has been a supporter of sustainability for a long time
Before Markle became the Duchess of Sussex, she was already interested in sustainability and protecting the environment. She often talked about these topics on her now-defunct blog, the Tig. For example, Markle once shared tips on how to have a “sustainable holiday celebration,” which included shopping at farmers’ markets and re-using leftover food for other purposes.
Markle also used to have a predominantly vegan diet. Although she never specified that she was doing it for the environment, it is common knowledge that veganism reduces wastes and lowers one’s carbon dioxide footprint.
Moreover, when the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were renovating their new home, they had some sustainability goals in mind as well. The nursery for their son, Archie, reportedly had vegan, eco-friendly paint. Additionally, the couple is looking to have a small garden where they can grow some of their own food.
Meghan Markle often supports ethical brands
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Continuing her visit in Johannesburg today, The Duchess of Sussex has visited the charity @actionaid_sa to speak to people working tirelessly to protect young girls in South Africa. The Duchess wanted to use her time here to help her better understand the issue of gender-based violence, and learn more about what was being done to tackle this crisis. @actionaid_sa work with a number of projects specifically helping young women, including the Teddy Bear Clinic, which provides essential support to children and families affected by domestic and sexual abuse, and @sonkegenderjustice, a not-for-profit working across Africa. The Duchess discussed the importance of trying to break a generational cycle and empower young girls, as well as working with boys and young men to raise their awareness so they can be a part of the solution rather than the problem. After the meeting today, The Duchess travelled privately to meet a number of young girls who are being supported by Action Aid and the Teddy Bear Clinic. These girls have come out of situations of abuse and degradation and have found their sense of self, purpose, and confidence in the spirit of sisterhood and community in The Girls Club. The Duchess described them as role models for all. For the privacy and protection of these young women, no photos of this visit will be shared. #RoyalVisitSouthAfrica Photo ©️ SussexRoyal / Getty / PA images
Markle also tries to show her commitment to sustainability by wearing a lot of clothes from brands that are eco-friendly and cruelty-free. For example, she seems to really like Stella McCartney, who was one of the first fashion designers to champion sustainability practices. Markle famously wore a Stella McCartney design during her wedding reception.
Other brands that Markle loves include Reformation, Kayu, and Outland Denim. Many of these companies are also small and do not have such a big reach. However, they have reported an increase in sales after Markle wears their clothes.
For instance, Outland Denim — a brand that hires formerly enslaved or exploited women as seamstresses and pays them a living wage to make sure they do not fall into poverty — saw a 950% increase in sales after Markle was spotted wearing their jeans. Thanks to the exposure, the company was able to hire more women in some of their workshops.
Outland Denim’s founder, James Bartle, shared: “It is quite remarkable to think The Duchess of Sussex’s influence means more jobs almost immediately… This means women will be able to earn a living wage, provide for their children in terms of nutrition, care and education, and will gain new skills and confidence in a positive workplace environment.”
The same trend happened on Markle’s recent royal tour to southern Africa. She wore dresses from sustainable brands such as Mayamiko and Room 502 — both brands gained new customers after the exposure. The items that Markle wore also sold out very quickly.
Meghan Markle recently used her influence to launch a charity fashion line
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Last month, The Duchess of Sussex surprised Smart Works clients during the capsule collection shoot in west London…Today, The Duchess, alongside @SmartWorksCharity – in partnership with @InsideJigsaw, @JohnLewisandPartners, @MarksandSpencer and @MishaNonoo – are incredibly proud to reveal to everyone, #TheSmartSet – a five piece capsule collection that will equip the Smart Works clients with the classic wardrobe pieces to help them feel confident as they mobilise back into the work space. • “Since moving to the UK, it has been deeply important to me to meet with communities and organisations on the ground doing meaningful work and to try to do whatever I can to help them amplify their impact. It was just last September that we launched the ‘Together’ cookbook with the women of the Hubb Kitchen in Grenfell. Today, a year later, I am excited to celebrate the launch of another initiative of women supporting women, and communities working together for the greater good. Thank you to the four brands who came together in supporting Smart Works on this special project – placing purpose over profit and community over competition. In convening several companies rather than one, we’ve demonstrated how we can work collectively to empower each other – another layer to this communal success story, that I am so proud to be a part of” – The Duchess of Sussex The collection – which features a shirt, trousers, blazer, dress and tote bag – will be on sale for two weeks starting today, with the objective of selling enough units to give Smart Works the essentials they need to help dress clients for the coming year! For every item bought during the sale of the collection, one will be donated to Smart Works, this 1:1 model allows customers to directly support the Smart Works women by playing a part in their success story – how they look and more importantly, how they feel. Photo © @JennyZarins
Markle does not just wear clothes from brands with important messages, however. She also launched her own fashion line for a good cause as well.
In September 2019, she partnered with Smart Works — a charity organization that helps unemployed women by providing them with clothes and coaching for job interviews — to launch a capsule collection called Smart Set. The collection includes things like dresses, suits, and bags from popular fashion designers like Jigsaw, John Lewis & Partners, Marks & Spencer, and Misha Nonoo.
According to the palace, for every item that is sold in the collection, one will be donated to Smart Works. A few of those items did eventually become sold out.
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