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Entertainment & Arts

Meghan Markle’s new fashion line is so generic it’ll render you tabloid-proof

Meghan Markle presents her Smart Works collection
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, launches her Smart Works capsule collection in London on Thursday.
(Mark Large / Pool / Associated Press)

The every-woman duchess just launched a fashion line for the every-woman employee.

The oft-criticized Meghan Markle debuted a capsule collection for charity on Thursday that’s non-controversial enough to nail a job interview while mercifully shielding its wearer — and curator — from criticism.

In her first postmaternity leave engagement, the Duchess of Sussex debuted the collection at a John Lewis store on Oxford Street in London. Sales of the five-piece Smart Set capsule collection of women’s work wear benefits Smart Works, a charity she patronizes that helps unemployed women find jobs.

The former “Suits” actress sported two of the collection’s looks: a crisp white Misha Nonoo button-up shirt and black tapered trousers by Jigsaw that are part of a suit included in the collection. You get the idea: basic wardrobe staples that make a woman look sharp enough to be taken seriously but say little to nothing about her style aesthetic or personality — which could very well be the royal’s mantra as of late.

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Meghan has been working with Smart Works since January and decided to help with the collaboration after she noticed that clothing donations to the charity were plentiful but not always the right choices or sizes for the clients they were meant to aid.

The collection ranges in price from $24 to $245; sizes start at European size 6 and select pieces are available up to size 24.It will be sold in the U.K. for at least two weeks beginning Thursday. Each retailer is stocking its own Smart Set piece or pieces, and not the full collection, though John Lewis will also carry the Jigsaw suit.

For every item purchased during the two weeks, the same item will be donated to Smart Works, which is taking a philanthropic cue from the 1:1 model made popular by the shoe brand Toms.

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“Since moving to the U.K., it has been deeply important to me to meet with communities and organizations on the ground doing meaningful work and to try to do whatever I can to help them amplify their impact,” the duchess said in a statement Thursday, continuing her mission of women supporting women and communities working together for the greater good.

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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

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

Designer Nonoo is Meghan’s friend and one of four fashion houses and brands that worked on the collection. In addition to Misha Nonoo and Jigsaw, Marks & Spencer offers a tunic-like dress in two colors and John Lewis & Partners has designed a tote bag, also in two colors. The idea was to provide the work wear essentials often needed for interviews and to enter the workplace.

“The capsule collection will give us the staples we need for our clients in centers across the country for the next six months,” said Kate Stephens, chief executive of Smart Works.

“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.”

And maybe even a duchess who invested in her own public image.


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