Meghan Markle made her grand return to royal duties today as she celebrated the launch of her Smart Set fashion capsule collection for her patronage Smart Works. The 38-year-old Duchess of Sussex brushed away those post-maternity-leave public speaking cobwebs and marked the occasion with a meaningful speech. In fact, she was so prepared that she didn’t even require notes, according to Vanity Fair.
Markle took the podium at Marks & Spencer and opened up about her experience working with Smart Works, a foundation that empowers unemployed women to succeed in the workplace by nurturing their skills and refreshing their wardrobe. The duchess described her Smart Set capsule collection, for which one item of clothing is donated for each one purchased, as the “kind of work I’ve been doing for a very long time.” She pointed out that charity shouldn’t just be about giving away things we no longer need, but about enhancing a person in need’s life with something that brings great value to them. This, she explained is how she and her husband, Prince Harry, have tried to model their charitable efforts as she acclimates to her new role.
“When I first moved to the U.K. it was incredibly important to me personally to be able to connect with people on the ground doing really important work, and one of the places I went to very early on was Smart Works,” Markle recalled.
She went on to speak about her inspiration behind the capsule collection she designed with pal Misha Nonoo, Jigsaw, Marks & Spencer and John Lewis, saying, “I thought, this is going to be classics and essentials. What are traditional and quintessential British brands that I’ve become introduced to since I moved here which resonate and I knew resonated with the Smart Works customer? And for me that seemed obvious to be Marks & Spencer and John Lewis, which I have worn quite a bit in the past year or two since I have been here, and they thankfully said yes as well, as did Misha (Nonoo).”
Lastly, Markle explained why she also sought out Jigsaw for the collection. “And the last company that I wanted to have be a part of this project was Jigsaw and truth be told that was because I had seen a campaign that they had done the year before really highlighting the diversity of the U.K. and the immigrant culture and how that was a part of the fabric of the nation,” she revealed. “When I saw that I was so touched by it and I thought anybody who is seeing the world that way and seeing the community that way is someone that I think would be a great partner to have on this project. They all said yes and that was a great start, so thank you so much for that.”
The duchess sure has a knack for extemporaneous speaking.