In British Vogue’s September issue, which Meghan guest edited, the Duchess of Sussex shares personal details about one of her first patronages, Smart Works, a charity that provides clothes and coaching to unemployed women in need.
“The reason I was drawn to Smart Works is that it reframes 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,” Meghan wrote in the issue.
She went on to say that it’s not just about donated clothes, “it’s about looking at that special item you’re holding on to – the memory of that suit or dress that helped you achieve your dream job – and wanting to pay it forward. Not a hand-me-down, but rather a hand being held.”
Meghan has made several visits to the Smart Works center this year — both privately and publicly. She even shared previously unseen photos of her visits, which occurred during her pregnancy with Archie. And each visit made a real impact on the royal.
“It’s the enthusiasm of the volunteers, the earnestness of the staff and, most of all, the blushing, bashful and beautiful smile that crosses a client’s face when she sees herself in the mirror, that I have found so profoundly compelling. Because in that moment, she feels special and emboldened,” Meghan wrote.
Meghan also announced that she is partnering with her designer friend, Misha Nonoo, to create a capsule collection of women’s workwear to benefit Smart Works.
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“When you walk into a Smart Works space you’re met with racks of clothing and an array of bags and shoes,” Meghan said. “Sometimes, however, it can be a potpourri of mismatched sizes and colors, not always the right stylistic choices or range of sizes.”
“To help with this, I asked Marks & Spencer, John Lewis & Partners, Jigsaw and my friends, the designer Mischa Nonoo, if they were willing to design a capsule collection of more classic options for a workwear wardrobe,” she added. “Taking the idea further, many of the brands agreed to use the one-for-one model: for each item purchased by a customer, one is donated to the charity. Not only does this allow us to be part of each other’s story, it reminds us we are in it together.”