Meghan Markle Is Spotlighting Ethical Fashion In Her Second Act

Meghan Markle is in the middle of a reinvention. After stepping away from royal duties in January, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been busy in Los Angeles, building their lives as private citizens. The couple made headlines in September with the announcement of their production company and multiyear deal with Netflix, and as philanthropists, the pair have been taking on speaking engagements, interviews, and public appearances connected to causes they hold dear. Much of their recent work has been via Zoom or teleconferencing, but the Duchess still sends messages through her outfit choices, even over webcam. Markle’s wardrobe has always reflected her socially-conscious viewpoint, and lately, she’s doubled down on ethical dressing by exclusively wearing brands that focus on the common good in her interviews.

Lizzy Yusuff in Hope for Flowers’s Tiered Maxi Dress

For example, in yesterday’s video chat for Fortune’s Most Powerful Women event, Markle opted for a flowing sundress from Tracy Reese’s Hope for Flowers line. Reese, a favorite of Michelle Obama and Sarah Jessica Parker, uses only organic cotton or linen, and ethically sources her materials. Made in Flint, Michigan, and designed in Detroit, Reese’s range is part of a broader push to create opportunities and jobs for women in underserved communities. Add to this the fact that Reese is also working to bring arts programming back to local public schools, and you have a brand that aligns perfectly with Markle’s interests. 

Similarly, the Tuxe sleeveless mock turtleneck that Markle wore for Sunday’s Malala Fund chat with education activist, Malala Yousafzai, came with a message. Founded in 2008 by Tamar Daniel, the bodysuit line was created to empower women via ethically produced workwear and access to free coaching sessions with business and executive coach Ianna Raim. Markle first wore Tuxe’s aptly named “Boss Blouse” for the Endeavor Fund Awards back in 2018 and has been a fan of the label ever since. 

Even the duchess’s most casual moments can be impactful. While recording the “Teenager Therapy” podcast earlier this week, Markle dressed down in pieces from an unexpected source: Etsy. Her Ruth Bader Ginsberg tribute t-shirt and mask were both culled from sellers on the handmade-focused e-commerce site. In a moment where supporting small businesses is paramount, Markle and her team sought out creators who are truly under the radar. In the past, the idea of an Etsy shop with a royal endorsement would have seemed unrealistic, but in 2020, lending the ‘Markle sparkle’ to independent artists feels right. 

From the moment she stepped into the global spotlight, Markle’s wardrobe has been dissected by fashion followers and political commentators alike. Throughout it all, she’s consistently used the platform fame affords her to shine a light on creators of color, female led brands, and companies that produce their wares sustainably. Now that she’s free to wear whatever she wants—protocol be damned—she’s using that opportunity to give the designers, creators, and brands who deserve attention a much-needed boost. 

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