Meghan Markle got back to work with a bang on Thursday, firing off a glossy set of behind-the-scenes fashion photographs of her new women’s workwear range on Instagram to celebrate the end of her maternity leave.
She also appeared in person for the launch, wearing the new capsule collection, teamed with a set of Princess Diana’s earrings.
Given Meghan’s well-known hatred of mindless fashion frivolity, as evinced by the worthy tone of the September issue of Vogue that she guest-edited, the photographs were in support of a charity, Smart Works. The charity helps out women starting new jobs by giving them a back-to-work wardrobe, a mission Meghan described as “deeply important” (you can click through the images on the embedded post below).
The pictures were issued in black-and-white, Meghan’s preferred method of telegraphing seriousness as her Vogue effort demonstrated, and showed Meghan palling around with models on the set of a fashion shoot for her new Smart Set collection, which will be available in stores, online, and in the charity’s dressing rooms across the U.K.
The women are dressed in the five pieces from the collection: a £19.50 dress from Marks & Spencer; a £109 John Lewis tote bag; a £120 shirt from Meghan’s designer friend Misha Nonoo, who is said to have introduced her to Harry; and a £199 jacket and £120 trousers, both from Jigsaw.
Meghan said at the launch that she asked Jigsaw to collaborate because of an advertising campaign she had seen: “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.
“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.”
Ill-informed critics were predictably quick to condemn the price points as out of reach of struggling women without realizing the key feature of the charity is that every time one of the items is bought at retail, a matching item is donated free to the charity.
Meghan flagged her involvement with Smart Works in her issue of Vogue, and will formally unveil the collection this afternoon.
In her Instagram post, Meghan said: “Since moving to the U.K., it has been deeply important to me to meet with communities and organizations on the ground doing meaningful work and to try to do whatever I can to help them amplify their impact.
“It was just last September that we launched the Together cookbook with the women of the Hubb Kitchen in Grenfell. Now, one year later, I am excited to celebrate the launch of another initiative of women supporting women, and communities working together for the greater good.
“When you buy any item in the Smart Set Capsule Collection for Smart Works, the same item will be given to a Smart Works client, and with it, the confidence and support she needs to enter the workforce and take an important step in building a career.
“Thank you to the four brands who came together in supporting Smart Works on this special project—placing purpose over profit and community over competition.
“In convening several companies rather than one, we’ve demonstrated how we can work collectively to empower each other—another layer to this communal success story, that I am so proud to be a part of.”
Meghan privately visited Smart Works several times before being named as its royal patron in January.