fashion

How Meghan Markle manages to champion her values without saying anything at all. 

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Whether professionally styled or not, Meghan Markle is an impeccable dresser.

So far on her royal tour with Prince Harry, we’ve seen her embrace her personal style in a way royals normally don’t while still dressing for the occasion. She caters her clothing choices to suit the situation and cities she’s visiting, whether that’s by showcasing local designers or picking pieces from sustainable and ethical brands.

Although we know royals are encouraged to remain “strictly neutral with respect to political matters,” as stated on the official Royal website, we also know that before becoming a royal the Duchess of Sussex was generally applauded for her liberal values. She’s a staunch feminist, was an ambassador for UN Women and before deactivating her Instagram she used her social media platform to call out Brexit and denounce President Donald Trump.

For example, according to The Guardian, during the US election she even urged her followers to vote for Hilary Clinton, eloquently and diplomatically writing, “not because she’s a woman, but because Trump has made it easy to see that you don’t really want that kind of world that he’s painting”.

Meghan fiercely opposed Brexit. Image: Instagram.

Despite her now royal status, we've seen her occasionally bend this rule in subtle and sometimes more overt ways. At her wedding to Prince Harry in May this year, they chose The Most Reverend Michael Bruce Curry - who is known for his support of immigration policies and marriage equality and was the first Black presiding bishop in the Episcopal Church - to read their sermon. Meghan is, of course, the first woman of African American heritage to be married into the royal family.

Two months after the royal wedding, Meghan was also caught expressing her pro-choice opinion while talking to an Irish senator after a referendum to remove an article criminalising abortion from their constitution. In a now deleted tweet, Senator Catherine Noone wrote: “The Duchess and I had a chat about the recent referendum result — she watched with interest and was pleased to see the result."

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More recently, while celebrating the 125th anniversary of women's suffrage in New Zealand, Meghan was applauded for her "spectacular" speech celebrating feminism and championing equality for race, ethnicity, sexuality and religion.

“The basic and fundamental human right of all people - including members of society who have been marginalised - whether for reasons of race, gender, ethnicity or orientation – to be able to participate in the choices for their future and their community," she said, before quoting one of New Zealand's most celebrated suffragette, Kate Sheppard.

“All that separates, whether of race, class, creed or sex, is inhuman and must be overcome,” Sheppard famous said.

While she was giving this speech, her custom Gabriela Hearst Navy 'Herve' dress only served to bolster her political sentiment. The New York designer is known for her activist and feminist undertones in her designs, as well as embracing sustainable practices. In 2016, Hearst partnered with non-profit organisation Manos del Uruguay, which provides work to craftswomen from rural areas, to produce tweed for her Fall collection. The designer has referenced women such as activist Angela Davis, singer and civil rights activist Nina Simone, and senator Kamala Harris (who played a big role during the Brett Kavanaugh hearings) as the inspiration behind some of her pieces.

meghan markle style
Not just a dress. Image: Getty.
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This is just one the many times the Duchess has showcased her values through her fashion and while this may seem like an insignificant, if not trivial observation, given the hundreds, if not thousands of global articles generated by just one outfit change, for better or for worse, Meghan's wardrobe choices hold political pull.

The Aussie brand Outland Denim jeans she wore generated so much in sales that the social enterprise was able to employ an additional 30 jobs for Cambodian women who were survivors of sex and people trafficking.

The sneakers from the same outfit are from Veja - a French company which prides itself on being transparent, non-polluting and making their soles from recycled plastic bottles - and you'd now be hard pressed to find a pair in stock.

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Just some of the other brands Meghan has also patronised include Reformation (which creates their clothing out of dead stock fabric which would otherwise end up in landfill), accessories label Kayu, which provide living wages to women cooperatives in the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia, and anti-fast fashion label Safiyaa, a clothing range which creates each piece made-to-order to reduce waste. Her go-to flats from Rothy's - which she was seen in during the 2017 Invictus Games - are also made from recycled plastic water bottles.

And the attention given to each of these brands would have increased exponentially after their designs were worn by the Duchess.

meghan markle style
We're still thinking about this Reformation dress. Image: Getty.
Meghan Fiji outfit
Meghan's black clutch is from accessories label Kayu. Image: Getty.
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meghan markle style
We're in awe of this Safiyaa gown. Image: Getty.
meghan markle style
Note: Meghan's chic and sustainable Rothy's ballet flats. Image: Getty.

Although she no longer has access to her personal Twitter or Instagram, Meghan's influence is still undeniable.

She's just had to reframe how she's able to use it.

What do you think of the clothing brands Meghan Markle chooses to champion? Have you been inspired by her ethical and sustainable style?

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