The Duchess of Sussex is to carry out her first official public engagement since the birth of her son – launching a high street clothing range in aid of charity.
Meghan’s maternity leave will come to an end when she proudly shows off the collection created by Jigsaw, John Lewis and Partners, Marks and Spencer and her designer friend Misha Nonoo next Thursday.
Since the birth of her son Archie on May 6, she has been caring for her child – although she has been seen privately attending a polo match where husband Harry was playing and watching the Women’s tennis final at Wimbledon.
The timeless series of outfits – known as a capsule collection – that can be worn in the workplace have been created in aid of Smart Works, a charity which provides training and interview clothes to unemployed women in need, and has Meghan as its royal patron.
The essential work wear includes a shirt, trousers, blazer, dress and bag – and for every item bought during the sale of the collection, expected to last at least two weeks, one will be donated to Smart Works.
Meghan announced the project during her guest editorship of British Vogue, and writing in the fashion bible she said: “The reason I was drawn to Smart Works is that it re-frames 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.”
She said the charity is often wrongly seen as a “makeover” organisation where a woman is transformed into something better through the donated clothes.
The duchess added: “This is not a fairytale. If it’s a cultural reference you’re after, forget Cinderella – this is a story of Wonder Woman, ready to take on the world in her metaphorical and literal cape.”
Meghan privately visited Smart Works several times before being named as its royal patron in January and has a long-standing commitment to supporting women’s empowerment.
She has travelled to India and Rwanda to work on projects helping those in challenging situations to develop their full potential, and while at university she was involved with a project to provide prom dresses to young women in underprivileged areas.
The duchess’ friend Nonoo is credited with introducing Harry to his future wife via a blind date and she had a VIP seat at the royal wedding.
Smart Works has helped more than 11,000 women and aims to dress 3,500 this year across their two London offices, and additional bases in Edinburgh, Manchester, Reading, Birmingham and Newcastle.
Women are referred to Smart Works from organisations such as jobcentres, work programmes, prisons, care homes, homeless shelters and mental health charities.
It has a team of 300 trained volunteers and helps long-term unemployed and vulnerable women regain the skills, confidence and tools to succeed at job interviews, return to employment and transform their lives.