THE SMART SET
HRH The Duchess of Sussex And Smart Works Charity Launch A Capsule Collection to Empower Unemployed Women For Job Success
On Thursday 12th September, The Duchess of Sussex and Smart Works unveiled their eagerly-anticipated collaboration on the roof terrace of Oxford Street’s John Lewis: a 7-piece capsule wardrobe of workwear essentials. The British charity, where HRH The Duchess of Sussex is the Royal Patron, provides professional and personal development to unemployed women. And this starts with their wardrobes. From a tailored blazer to leather tote bags and a pair of slim fit black trousers, the new ready-to-wear collection is designed to instil women with the confidence to succeed at job interviews and, ultimately, return to employment.
“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 that I went to very early on was Smart Works,” The Duchess of Sussex said at the event. During her regular visits to the charity, she was aware that some of the clothing donations weren’t always the right choices or sizes, and this sparked the beginning of The Smart Set capsule wardrobe.
Each piece from The Smart Set capsule wardrobe has been created by a different British brand— including John Lewis & Partners, Marks & Spencer and Jigsaw. The Duchess’s close friend and New York-based designer Misha Nonoo has also joined forces to create the piece de résistance— The Smart Set Shirt, a riff on their signature tailored white “Husband Shirt” that Meghan Markle’s has sported on many public outings. Speaking about the collection Nonoo explains, “empowering women has always been my goal as a designer and I was thrilled our brand could support so many women’s professional pursuits in this special partnership.”For every item bought by a customer, one will be donated to Smart Works and have a direct impact on helping women get back into the work place.
Writing in Vogue’s September issue, The Duchess of Sussex sets the record straight: “There is often a misunderstanding about Smart Works being a makeover… where a woman is magically transformed into something better than she was before. But to label it as such would not only be inaccurate, it would be missing the point. This is not a fairy tale. In fact, if it’s a cultural reference you’re after, forget Cinderella – this is the story of Wonder Woman, ready to take on the world in her metaphorical and literal cape.”
Half of Smart Works’ clients are from an ethnic minority, long-term unemployed and have been unsuccessful in a number of job applications—but with support of the charity, 64% go on to get a job following their visit to Smart Works. In addition to providing clothes for job interviews, beneficiaries can also access interview training and monthly meetings to further their professional and personal confidence.
Browse The Smart Set…
(CLICK EACH ITEM TO SHOP)
Marks & Spencer – The Smart Set Dress, £19.50 in Black & Blue
Jigsaw – The Smart Set Suit Jacket, £199 and Trouser, £120
Misha Nonoo – The Smart Set Shirt, £125
John Lewis & Partners – The Smart Set Tote, £109 in Black & Tan
The Smart Set Capsule Collection will be available online and in selected stores from Thursday 12th September in sizes 6-24