Everything Meghan Markle does is scrutinized by millions of eyeballs around the world, which offers a rare and unprecedented opportunity for the Duchess of Sussex to broadcast a subtle but all-important message every time she steps foot out of the door.
The “Markle effect”, or the sell-out effect experienced by brands whom the radiant young Duchess patronizes, is a real, quantifiable measurement. For example, when we spoke to Strathberry’s back in May, the brand revealed to us, “Daily web traffic is consistently up 400 percent from daily average pre-Meghan Markle carrying her Strathberry bag. Sales to the US and on our US website are up over 200 to 300 percent; however, this is still held back as we are not fully stocked. We estimate sales this year will increase by up to 20 to 40 percent due to increased brand awareness.” Those numbers are nothing to sniff at.
What is surprising about Markle’s sartorial choices is how many of them are ethically made and sustainably sourced – a fact we couldn’t be more thrilled about. While some celebrities have paid lip service to the idea that fashion should be more ethical with its production and manufacturing processes, there are few who have dedicated so much wardrobe space to ethical and eco-friendly brands, and fewer still who make it a practice to wear them at very public events. That means the “Markle effect” is applying (in a very tangible way) to brands who may never have gotten such an enormous signal boost otherwise. Below are some of the brands Markle has been wearing with regularity, and not only are they principled in their production practices and not harmful to the environment, but many of them are surprisingly accessible and affordable.
On her recent tour of Australia, Reformation’s breezy, striped, linen ‘Pineapple’ dress happened to be the perfect pick for a day spent on Fraser Island. Reformation’s business model includes ‘RefScale’, which tracks its environmental footprint, waste generation, and the environmental impact of each product so that consumers can stay informed. It also produces its clothes ethically and according to sustainable practices, which means this is AED 800 you don’t have to feel guilty for dropping – and you get a bit of that Markle sparkle to boot.
Markle has been spotted multiple times in a snug but comfortable pair of Outland Denim ‘Harriet’ jeans. This brand should be on your radar because they provide employment to survivors of human trafficking, and Cambodian women in poverty. Their clothes are all made using sustainably sourced materials. Markle’s recent effect on the brand was so strong that the brand was able to “employ a further 15 to 30 seamstresses in [the] Cambodian production house in the coming weeks, for which recruitment has already begun,” according to a recent press release.
Maggie Marilyn is a small, independent brand which creates clothes out of 100% cotton that is ethically created in New Zealand. After Markle wore a polished blazer-dress on a trip to Wellington, New Zealand, Marilyn saw a sevenfold uptick in site traffic and a huge boost on social media.
A trip to South Melbourne Beach called for sensible flats, so Markle reached for Rothy’s sustainably made version, produced entirely from recycled plastic bottles. Rothy’s flats, which create almost zero waste, saw sales double after Markle wore them out, while the site saw a fourfold increase in traffic overall.
Stella McCartney, who leads the vanguard of sustainably made and ethical high fashion, has been a long-standing favorite of Markle. Not only did she wear Stella McCartney’s design to her wedding reception, but she has tapped the brand again for special-occasion suits, navy cape-backed dresses at the Invictus ceremonies, and even the Stella McCartney x Adidas trainers for walkabouts.
Markle’s nautical look caused a sensation when she sported Veja’s ‘V-10’ sneakers to watch a sailing event. The eco-conscious brand focuses on manufacturing transparency, and all of its products are created with raw materials, without the use of chemicals or pollutive processes.
When the perennially stylish Markle sported a chic ‘Anna’ clutch by Kayu to the wedding of Charlie van Straubenzee to Daisy Jenks (and again to meet the President of Fiji), the bag sold out in a matter of hours. This was great news for the Bay Area brand, which prides itself on artisanal handcrafted products made from 100% natural materials.