The Meghan Markle Effect is back and it’s bigger than ever before!
While Meghan Markle has made many style statements during her and Prince Harry’s 16-day tour of Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga, it’s her go-to skinny black jeans (worn six times so far and counting!) that might have been the most impactful.
Meghan’s much-loved jeans are from Australian brand, Outland Denim. Not only do they use organic cotton and natural vegetable dyes to make their luxury jeans, they also empower disadvantaged women to build a better life for themselves by training and employing formerly enslaved or exploited women in Cambodia.
“Employment with Outland means protection from poverty and all the vulnerabilities associated with that, including human trafficking, forced labour, sexual exploitation, forced marriage, and working in environments opposed to human flourishing,” founder and CEO of Outland Denim, James Bartle tells PEOPLE, adding: “Simply being unable to feed, house, clothe and educate your children is something we take for granted but means the world to these women.”
Since Meghan first stepped out in her skinny black ‘Harriet’ jeans on the second day of the tour in Dubbo (teaming them with a plaid jacket designed by her friend Serena Williams), the design sold out within 48 hours and as a result of increased sales (640% to be exact), the company are in the process of adding 15-30 new seamstresses to their 50-plus workforce.
“It is incredible to be able to offer job opportunities to more young women in Cambodia for whom the prospects are not great,” says Bartle at his head office in Tamborine Mountain, on the outskirts of Brisbane.
After Meghan stepped out in the jeans, the company’s website traffic increased 948% globally, while it increased a staggering 3000% within Australia.
“We are just so thankful that she loved the product and the story behind it enough to choose to wear them. It was a rare and unique opportunity that coincided perfectly with the royal tour in Australia.”
Perfect timing indeed and while Bartle remains discreet on exactly how Meghan came across the brand, he will say that a selection of jeans were sent to both Meghan and Harry, and although he hasn’t publicly worn the jeans yet, Harry has clearly been taking style tips from his wife, wearing matching shirts from Los-Angeles-based brand Frank & Eileen to leave Fraser Island for Fiji.
And it’s not the first time Meghan has used her style power to help a socially-conscious denim brand. In January, Meghan wore a pair of jeans by Welsh brand Hiut Denim Co. on an official royal visit to Cardiff. Sales of her Dina black skinny jeans rocketed so high, the small firm (whose aim is to make their small Welsh town of Cardigan famous for jean-making again) were able to employ several new machinists and even moved into a new bigger factory as a result.
For those hoping to snap a pair of Outland’s $195 Harriet jeans, patience might be the order of the day as deliveries are not guaranteed until April, 2019.
“The boost Meghan has given us is just out of this world and we couldn’t have asked for a more perfect person to endorse the brand, for me, and the women employed by Outland, it makes the world of difference,” says Bartle.