We always hear about certain royals’ “private meetings,” to the point where it feels like some kind of code for “hair appointment” or “a 15-minute drive-by before a shopping excursion.” But here we have evidence of an actual private meeting, or should I say a private, unpublicized visit to one of her patronages. The Duchess of Sussex posted the above Instagram yesterday evening, with never-before-seen photos of another visit to Smart Works. Remember, Meghan has only made one official visit, with press in tow. But she clearly made at least one additional visit deep into her pregnancy. And she brought a photographer! But I don’t mind that. It’s good to have PROOF of those private meetings and visits for a lot of different reasons. As for the information in the post, Meghan wrote it as a “spotlight on: Smart Works” and although she wrote in the third person, let’s be perfectly clear: she wrote this to promote her new capsule collection, which was announced this week.
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.”
This feels so much like the cookbook, doesn’t it? Clever Meghan, noticing that while there were some lovely donations, women in need weren’t being provided with some mix-and-match staples, and simple pieces which would suit a variety of employment opportunities. So instead of shrugging or giving a speech about how more donations are needed, she decided to put something together herself. I would assume/hope the capsule collection is full of those workwear basics: the simple pencil or A-line skirt in black, grey and navy. The flattering-cut trousers in the same black, grey and navy. Button-up blouses in different color options. A relaxed blazer which can be paired with anything. A shift dress in multiple colors. Some cardigan and twinset options too. That’s what I would design if I was looking to provide staple workwear which would appeal to Marks & Spencer consumers AND women in need of workwear.
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red and Instagram.