We are back on the Meghan Markle beat — and no, this time, we are not writing about her Jewish mom BFF, stylist Jessica Mulroney.
Rather, we’re here to talk about the Duchess of Sussex’s latest, greatest endeavor: A launch of a five-piece “capsule collection” to help disadvantaged women feel empowered with their clothes.
Here’s the scoop: Markle is patron of a U.K-based organization, Smart Works, which provides unemployed women with free professional clothes and job interview training.
Back in January, Markle suggested creating a capsule collection of workwear. She realized that while Smart Works has no shortage of donations — including clothing from her own closet — something they lack are solid staples. And so, Markle teamed up with four affordable fashion brands to bring the collection of basics to life: John Lewis & Partners, Marks & Spencer, Jigsaw, and Jewish designer Misha Nonoo.
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Last month, The Duchess of Sussex surprised Smart Works clients during the capsule collection shoot in west London…Today, The Duchess, alongside @SmartWorksCharity – in partnership with @InsideJigsaw, @JohnLewisandPartners, @MarksandSpencer and @MishaNonoo – are incredibly proud to reveal to everyone, #TheSmartSet – a five piece capsule collection that will equip the Smart Works clients with the classic wardrobe pieces to help them feel confident as they mobilise back into the work space. • “Since moving to the UK, it has been deeply important to me to meet with communities and organisations 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. Today, a year later, I am excited to celebrate the launch of another initiative of women supporting women, and communities working together for the greater good. 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” – The Duchess of Sussex The collection – which features a shirt, trousers, blazer, dress and tote bag – will be on sale for two weeks starting today, with the objective of selling enough units to give Smart Works the essentials they need to help dress clients for the coming year! For every item bought during the sale of the collection, one will be donated to Smart Works, this 1:1 model allows customers to directly support the Smart Works women by playing a part in their success story – how they look and more importantly, how they feel. Photo © @JennyZarins
We’re here to talk Nonoo, obviously, who has a long history with the actress turned royal.
When Meghan and Prince Harry went public with their relationship way back in 2016, Meghan wore a shirt by Misha Nonoo called “The Husband Shirt” that retails for $185.
It’s a nice shirt, but who is Nonoo? She is a Jewish British-Iraqi designer in her early 30s. She was born in Bahrain, an Arab state on the Persian Gulf, where she lived until her family moved to London when she was 11. (Her dad’s family, the Nonoos, are super prominent in Bahrain; the Jewish community’s unofficial leader there is Abraham David Nonoo.)
Nonoo and Meghan have been friends for a while — as Nonoo told the Evening Standard about Markle, “I love her to death. She is the coolest girl in the world.” Nonoo, obvs, attended the royal wedding, as well as Meghan’s NYC baby shower.
And it looks like Meghan may be Nonoo’s wedding guest in the near future: Earlier this year, Nonoo announced her engagement to Mike Hess, a son of an oil magnate, who is also really good pals with Josh Kushner and Karlie Kloss (cue “It’s a Small World After All”).
So, back to the Duchess’s five-piece fashion line. It only makes sense that Markle would turn to her talented designer friend for this launch, right? Nonoo’s contribution to The Smart Set: An updated version of her famous “Husband Shirt” — yes, the one Meghan wore on her first public date with Prince Harry — that retails for $125.
Here’s the shirt:
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We’re thrilled to be officially launching our partnership with Smart Works and The Duchess of Sussex, as we work together to support women as they re-enter the workforce. Here at Misha Nonoo, our mission has always been to provide women everywhere with a stylish work-ready wardrobe. With our release of the Smart Set Shirt, we can spread this mission further— with every purchase of our shirt, one will be donated to Smart Works, equipping their clients with the key essentials they need to attend interviews and return to employment. Link in bio.
“Thinking about the essential pieces you need in your wardrobe, it makes sense that the foundation of a wardrobe should be black and white; for example, the classic white shirt and well-fitting black pants,” Nonoo said. “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.”
All five pieces in the collection are sold on a one-to-one basis, meaning, for each item purchased, the same item is donated to Smart Works, to be worn by a woman in need.
At the much publicized launch of The Smart Set on Sept. 12, Meghan spoke about the impact she is trying to make.
“When I first came to the U.K., it was incredibly important for 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,” she said. “It’s about women who are empowering each other, me being able to have the opportunity to meet them, get to know them, learn from them, and then say, what can I do in some small way?”
Here’s Meghan speaking at the launch:
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Introducing the new Smart Works collection, #TheSmartSet Over the last year, The Duchess of Sussex and @SmartWorksCharity have come together to launch a very special initiative. Following numerous visits to the charity, The Duchess, who is patron of Smart Works, noticed an underlying issue… while the donations were plentiful, the right sizes and classic wardrobe staples were not always available. Since then – having partnered with leading British fashion designers @InsideJigsaw, @JohnLewisandPartners, @MarksandSpencer and @MishaNonoo – The Duchess has championed the launch of a new Smart Works capsule collection that will help properly equip these women for their next chapter. • “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.” – The Duchess of Sussex Created in September 2013 with the goal to help unemployed women regain the confidence that may have been blurred during more difficult times, Smart Works provides invaluable support in these women’s return to employment and towards transforming their lives. Not only do they supply complete outfits for job interviews, Smart Works provides access to one-to-one interview training and the opportunity to join Smart Works Network, meeting every month to further their professional and personal development. #TheSmartSet collection – that features a shirt, trousers, blazer, dress and bag – will be on sale for two weeks starting today. Please support the women of Smart Works by purchasing one of the pieces and being part of another woman’s success story. Video ©️ SussexRoyal / Photo ©️ @JennyZarins
Looking good and doing good for other women? This is something we can totally get behind! Mazel tov, Meghan, Misha, and everyone else involved!
Image of Meghan Markle & Misha Nonoo in header by Andrew Toth/Getty Images and of Meghan Markle by Samir Hussein/WireImage.