Duchess Meghan was not expected at a photoshoot for her upcoming capsule collection that will benefit Smart Works, one of her patronages. Or at least, the models who showed up for it did not think she would be there, judging from some clips of her making a surprise appearance at the shoot that were shared on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s Instagram on Aug. 21.
The first clip sees Meghan giving models huge hugs as they arrive and discover she’s there. She looks incredibly happy, and also seems to be getting quite involved with the project’s planning, based on the second clip. It sees her leaning over a monitor and talking with the photographer, styling the models and watching the entire thing go down.
Meghan’s capsule collection for Smart Works was announced earlier this month in the pages of the September issue of British Vogue, which she guest-edited. Meghan and fashion designer friend Misha Nonoo have teamed up to create the collection of women’s workwear, which will reportedly hit UK stores in September. Every item sold will benefit Smart Works, which helps support women who are trying to find employment.
“When you walk into a Smart Works space, you’re met with racks of clothing and an array of bags and shoes,” Meghan wrote in British Vogue . “Sometimes, however, it can be a potpourri of mismatched sizes and colours, not always the right stylistic choices or range of sizes.”
Seeing this could be a barrier to finding employment, Meghan reached out to Marks & Spencer, John Lewis & Partners, Jigsaw and Misha, and asked if they would be willing to help her design clothing that had “more classic options for a workwear wardrobe.”
Meghan wrote that many of the brands she approached also committed to donating one item to Smart Works every time a consumer buys something from the line.
“Not only does this allow us to be part of each other’s story, it reminds us we are in it together,” the duchess wrote.
She also called Smart works “a network of women supporting and empowering other women in their professional pursuits.”
In addition to providing an outfit for women who are seeking employment, Smart Works also helps them prepare for interviews. Once they secure a job, they get five other clothing items to ensure they start the new gig off on the right foot.
Meghan has been giving us lots to smile about lately! On Aug. 22, she gave fans a special message when a series of photos was posted on the @sussexroyal Instagram from her visit to London’s Luminary Bakery earlier this year. One picture features a series of cupcakes with kind messages on them such as “You are worthy,” “You matter,” “You are so loved” and “Be kind to yourself.”
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Spotlight on: Luminary Bakery Today we shine a spotlight on @LuminaryBakery and the amazing women of this inspiring and sustainable grassroots organisation. • “What they’ve created at Luminary Bakery is exceptional - it’s a space for baking, healing and rebuilding. When I visited the women earlier this year I was struck by how the baking, itself, is a means of therapy for these women - which in many ways makes complete sense - feeling they had no control over their lives based on their previous (and often harrowing) circumstances, they found comfort in the measured nature of baking. Mixing equal parts of one ingredient and another could yield the perfect dessert, but the act of doing so provided personal balance. So while the baked goods are absolutely delicious, it’s the story of how the program at Luminary reshapes lives through baking that is the actual icing on the cake.” - The Duchess of Sussex Earlier this year, The Duchess of Sussex visited the Luminary Bakery and had the opportunity to break bread with the women - literally and figuratively - whilst listening to their stories of how they’ve rebuilt their lives following their challenging life experiences, and the significant role that Luminary Bakery has played in helping with their personal restoration. The Duchess of Sussex chose to include this small bakery tucked away in East London for the September issue of @BritishVogue, which she guest edited. This bakery is making a substantial difference to the lives of women in the local area over the last five years since opening its arms to vulnerable women and providing job skills, career support, mentoring and coaching. The combination of these like minded women supporting each other, both on the staff side and from the students, is proving to be the perfect recipe in creating this amazing, positive environment. If you find yourself in East London, please stop by and support the women of Luminary Bakery and the impactful work they’re doing. Photo © @LuminaryBakery
Meghan included the organization in the special edition of British Vogue. She even sent the bakery a handwritten thank-you note for all of the staff’s efforts, and this week she and Prince Harry decided to further spotlight the business and share some of what it does.
The charitable organization was opened in 2014 by Alice Williams, and has an entirely female staff. According to People, Alice’s charity has helped transform the lives of 56 disadvantaged women, many of whom were victims of sex trafficking and violence.
“What they’ve created at Luminary Bakery is exceptional – it’s a space for baking, healing and rebuilding,” Meghan said in the caption for the post. “When I visited the women earlier this year, I was struck by how the baking, itself, is a means of therapy for these women – which in many ways makes complete sense – feeling they had no control over their lives based on their previous (and often harrowing) circumstances, they found comfort in the measured nature of baking. Mixing equal parts of one ingredient and another could yield the perfect dessert, but the act of doing so provided personal balance.
“So while the baked goods are absolutely delicious, it’s the story of how the program at Luminary reshapes lives through baking that is the actual icing on the cake.”