Inside Meghan Markle’s WOKE-drobe: From gender-neutral knitwear to shoes made from recycled bottles, BETH HALE takes a look at how the Duchess’s outfits proclaim her various causes

  • Meghan does not use merely her voice to promote her virtuous views 
  • She also lets her wardrobe do the talking – from jeans sewn by victims of human trafficking to gender-neutral knitwear
  • The Duchess of Sussex’s outfits proclaim her various causes 

Since leaving the Royal Family, Meghan and Harry rarely seem to be off our screens — preaching about everything from voting to the evils of social media.

Not that Meghan uses merely her voice to promote her virtuous views — she lets her wardrobe do the talking.

From jeans sewn by victims of human trafficking to gender-neutral knitwear, her outfits proclaim her various causes — even more so since she returned to the bosom of Hollywood.

Here, BETH HALE takes a look through Meghan’s ‘woke-drobe’… 

A DRESS TO SAVE THE WORLD: For a summit of Fortune’s Most Powerful Women last month — during which she compared social media users to drug addicts — Meghan slipped into a strappy dress burdened with more woke credentials than it had fabric. The £253 number was from African-American designer Tracy Reese’s sustainable label Hope For Flowers. Tracy — a ‘champion for diversity and inclusion’ — is a favourite among celebs including Oprah Winfrey. Think organic cotton and linen, fibres made from wood from sustainable forests and 10 per cent of sales going to offset eco impact.

SUSTAINABLE SHIRT EARNS ITS STRIPES: Fortune’s Most Powerful Women summit was virtual and Meghan spoke about creating ‘humane tech’ in her conversation with Ellen McGirt — but the message in her attire was as striking as ever. Her £95 striped boyfriend shirt was from British brand With Nothing Underneath. The label was founded by a female ex-Vogue staffer. Nothing Underneath’s ethos is sustainability all the way — and the shirts come packaged in cotton pouches, rather than single-use plastic.

ONE STYLE FITS ALL: Perhaps no surprises in Meghan’s choice of a Haiti-born designer for an interview to mark the beginning of Black History Month. But to emphasise her all-encompassing attitude, Meghan’s asymmetric camel-coloured top was, in fact, unisex. Designer Victor Glemaud says he’s all about inclusivity, However, at £290, the price isn’t quite so accessible.

VERY FASHIONABLE FRIEND OF THE EARTH: Meghan’s 2018 tour of Australia, New Zealand and Fiji was peppered with ethical fashion choices. Take her casual striped maxi dress for a stroll around Australia’s Fraser Island. It cost £166 from U.S. brand Reformation, which prides itself on using sustainable materials rescued from unsold fabrics and repurposed vintage clothing. Then, in New Zealand, Meghan went for a custom dress from a native designer with oodles of ethical credentials thrown in. She wowed fans in her white tuxedo dress from Kiwi brand Maggie Marilyn, which uses organic cottons, ethically produced silks and recycled metals that are not harmful to the environment.

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GOING GREEN AT A PRICE: For her final outing as a senior member of the Royal Family at March’s Commonwealth Day service, Meghan put on an elegant — and expensive — eco display. With her bespoke Emilia Wickstead dress, Meghan carried a £1,695 Demi bag by New York-based designer Gabriela Hearst. Hearst is a purveyor of ‘slow fashion’; 99 per cent of her textiles are sustainable, with a focus on zero waste, upcycling and eco-conscious processes. Think cardboard hangers, compostable plastic and humanely farmed leather.

NOT YOUR AVERAGE SCHOOL BAG: Value and appreciate the women in your lives, said Meghan as she surprised students in Dagenham with a visit ahead of International Women’s Day in March. She carried an ultra-trendy £300 woven bag by Seoul-born, London-based designer Rejina Pyo. Pyo does not use fur, exotic skins or angora and only responsibly sourced feathers and merino wool.

TRAINERS IN STEP WITH ETHICAL VALUES: Every step was carefully planned as Meghan and Harry carried out their first major tour of Australia in October 2018, right down to the trainers on the pregnant Duchess’s feet. Her £95 Veja trainers, made with ethically sourced rubber have since been named the ‘world’s hottest shoes’. The brand’s ‘green’ shoes are made from recycled plastic bottles, organic cotton and some models are vegan, but Meghan’s ‘Esplar’ pair are made using vegetable-tanned leather.

MODEST BUT EMPOWERING: A demure outfit was required for a visit to the oldest mosque in South Africa in September 2019. But Meghan still made a statement. Her £260 Staud dress was crafted from recycled nylon. Staud co-founders Sarah Staudinger and George Augusto clearly speak the same LA language as Meghan; their website says ‘fashion shouldn’t just empower women — it should be accessible, too’. Although at more that £200 for a dress, it’s not all that accessible.

CLUTCHING ON TO TRADITIONAL TECHNIQUES; You can’t pack much into one of Meghan’s favourite handbags, but what does that matter when there’s a global message within? Meghan carried this sleek £172 clutch from California-based brand Kayu to a society wedding in August 2018. Its bags — made from materials including straw, wood and shell — are handmade by all-women co-operatives in the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia, using indigenous techniques passed down through generations.

JEANS MADE BY TRAFFICKED WOMEN: Returning to Canada from a trip to the U.S. in February, Harry and Meghan eschewed private jets for a commercial flight. And as if to underline the virtuous message, Meghan’s outfit was ethical from head to toe. There was the £225 ‘Wool Yak’ cardigan by Cuyana, her pal Misha Nonoo’s £174 ‘Husband Shirt’, and a pair of £111 flats by Rothy, which famously uses recycled plastic water bottles to make its oh-so-trendy shoes. But perhaps the wokest part of her outfit was her black jeans. The £155 Harriet jeans are from Outland, which trains women who have survived trafficking and sexual exploitation to produce its products in Cambodia.

HELPING HAND FOR BETTER HEALTHCARE: Visiting Cardiff in January 2018, Meghan carried a £295 DeMellier Mini Venice handbag. The brand works with charities in Somalia and Zambia and promises that for each bag purchased, money will go to fund vaccines and treatments. DeMellier saw a 2,000 per cent spike in traffic after Meghan was first spotted carrying one of its bags.

PS: AND THAT’S BEFORE WE EVEN GET STARTED ON THE JEWELLERY… Meghan has worn several pieces by ethical Canadian jeweller Ecksand, which uses traceable, conflict-free diamonds and is devoted to minimising its carbon footprint. A stackable ring, like the one she wore while watching the Invictus Games in Sydney in 2018, costs £585.

In January, she wore a £459 pair of earrings by Kimai, a London brand that specialises in lab-grown diamonds to avoid the controversies linked to diamond mining.

She also favours Edge of Ember — most recently wearing a £135 necklace bearing an evil eye (said to protect you from negative vibes) for a Zoom call. Edge of Ember prides itself on ethical production, working with artisans and small factories in Asia; its London base is an ‘all-female operation’ and customers can recycle old jewellery.

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