This afternoon in London, the Duchess of Sussex made her first public appearance since giving birth. She chose the eve of London Fashion Week to launch her Smart Set capsule fashion collection in collaboration with the charity Smart Works and major British fashion purveyors.
She has joined forces with Marks & Spencer, John Lewis department store, Jigsaw and designer Misha Nonoo, the friend who is credited with introducing Markle to Prince Harry via a blind date, to create the Smart Set collection of classic workwear options, including a white shirt, trousers, a blazer, a dress and a large leather bag.
The mission of the Smart Works charity is to empower disadvantaged women with the confidence to attend a job interview and enter the workforce by dressing them in a work-appropriate outfit. So for every Smart Set item bought over the course of a two-week initiative, another will be donated to the charity, which will equip women in need with the workwear essentials. “Not only does this allow us to be part of each other’s story,” said the Duchess, “it reminds us we are in it together.
For the press conference and photo call today, Markle teamed the Smart Set white shirt by Misha Nonoo ($155) with slim black pants by Jigsaw ($150) from the five-piece line that she helped conceive. She completed the outfit with was a pair of Manolo Blahnik’s suede BB pumps in deep tan, which sell for $625 and higher, depending on materials.
A Smart Set crepe shift dress from Marks & Spencer is available in red, black and blue. Priced at around $25 and in U.S. sizes 4 to 22, it is both wallet friendly and inclusive. There is also a handsome leather tote bag at John Lewis. Available in black and brown, it retails at around $135. The final item is a black fitted blazer from Jigsaw ($150).
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We are so excited to announce the launch of The Smart Set . . Our Royal Patron, HRH The Duchess of Sussex, @sussexroyal and Smart Works have collaborated with leading British fashion designers @johnlewisandpartners , @marksandspencer , @insidejigsaw and @mishanonoo to create a perfect working wardrobe for our Smart Works clients . . The collection consists of the work wear essentials often needed to attend interviews and enter into the workplace: a perfect white shirt, an elegant blazer, well cut trousers, a dress that flatters everyone and the perfect tote . . HRH The Duchess of Sussex commented; “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. When you buy any item in the Smart Set Capsule Collection for Smart Works, 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 . . 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.”. . Kate Stephens, CEO of Smart Works, said: “The capsule collection will give us the staples we need for our clients in centres across the country for the next six months. We are incredibly grateful to the brands involved for making this possible. Every woman who walks through our door will know that another woman cares about her and has invested in her future.”. . The collection will be available in stores and in Smart Works dressing rooms across the UK from September 12. . For more details head to our Insta Stories and SWIPE UP to read more . . #TheSmartSet Photo © @jennyzarins
Speaking to Vogue in the September issue, the Duchess, who has been a patron of the Smart Works charity since January, said she noticed that clothing donated “can be a potpourri of mismatched sizes and colors, not always the right stylistic choices or range of sizes.”
“The reason I was drawn to Smart Works [charity] is that it re-frames the idea of charity as community, which, for me, is incredibly important: It’s a network of women supporting and empowering other women in their professional pursuits.”
With Rihanna’s fierce Fenty lingerie show earlier this week, which featured women of all shapes and sizes, female empowerment and inclusivity have been high on the New York Fashion Week agenda, too.