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How Duchess Kate has been supporting independent designers during the COVID-19 pandemic

By Heather Cichowski

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Duchess Kate always makes carefully considered choices with her clothes that hold significance, much like the Queen. During the coronavirus pandemic, Kate has used her style in a number of clever ways, including showing her support for small, independent and/or local businesses.

The duchess in her Scout outfit featuring a Really Wild leather vest, Spells of Love necklace, All the Falling Stars Gold Disc Earrings and Scout neckerchief on Sept. 29 in London. Photo: © Daniel Leal-Olivas - WPA Pool/Getty Images

During a royal engagement with the Scouts on Sept. 29, she sported a Really Wild nubuck waistcoat (US$544) vest. Really Wild was founded by Natalie Lake in 2002, and it celebrates British heritage. Its pieces are meant to be worn from town to country and back.

MORE: Duchess Kate steps out in her best outdoor apparel to make marshmallows with Cub and Beaver Scouts in London

During the appearance, Kate also showcased jewelry from indie brands she has supported a few times recently. The 38-year-old accessorized with the Gold Disc Circle Earrings from All the Falling Stars ($76) and the Double Strand Beaded Satellite Chain Necklace from Spells of Love.

All the Falling Stars is an Irish jewelry company based in County Galway designed by Aisling O'Brien. The brand embraces a minimalist aesthetic to let the wearer's natural beauty shine through.

Aisling told HELLO! Canada about the response after Kate wore the brand.

"It was an incredible surprise to see the Duchess of Cambridge wearing these pieces in the media, and then to see them appearing five different times over the past few weeks, it is wonderful to know that she must actually really like the jewellery for her to be adding these to her regular collection," the designer said. "The amount of support from other local makers has been incredible with people delighted to see one of their own getting a boost, even if it is largely by chance."

Aisling continued, "[Kate] was given the jewellery as a gift when she visited Galway earlier in the year, and even though she acknowledged it through a letter from Kensington Palace saying that she loved the pieces and would get lots of wear out of them, I still didn't imagine I would actually see her in them - if I did I might have been better prepared for the reaction they have received. I'm really not sure if anything could prepare you for that though!"

The duchess wowed in a personalized All the Falling Stars charm necklace and pink Marks & Spencer trousers at Battersea Park on Sept. 22. Photo: © Jack Hill - WPA Pool/Getty Images

The response after Kate wore All the Falling Stars has been felt on an international level.

Aisling continued, "There have been orders and enquiries flowing in from all over the world - Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, USA, all over Europe, the U.K. and Ireland, Russia, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, India, the list is endless!

"I stock my jewellery in just one shop in Galway currently, and had not sold more than two pieces of jewellery outside of Ireland from my website before this. It has completely opened up an international market and has created a huge audience for the business. There are currently thousands of people waiting to be notified when products are back in stock, so I don't think things are going to slow down any time soon."

On Sept. 22, Kate enjoyed the British weather in a white top from Lauren Ralph Lauren and pink Marks & Spencer trousers. This time, she accessorized with the Personalised Gold Three Layered Disc Necklace ($170) from All the Falling Stars. The sweet piece paid tribute to her children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, because each charm was stamped with "G," "C," and "L," to represent them.

The charm necklace was paired with the Spells of Love Double Strand Beaded Satellite Chain. (The latter seems to be a new favourite!)

Spells of Love is a demi-fine, independent jewelry brand based in Wales that's designed by Hayley Jones. Kate first wore the brand in public when she made her first in-person royal engagement following COVID-19 lockdown in Wales in early August. She chose the Spells of Love Alia Hoops for the occasion.

"It has been amazing seeing The Duchess wearing and re-wearing my jewelry, it has helped my small business so much, and I am so grateful," Hayley told HELLO! Canada. "In these worrying times, it has so been lovely to be given a boost, and I am so grateful and thankful for this.

The duchess wore the Amaia face mask, Spells of Love hoops and recycled an Emilia Wickstead floral dress to meet with residents at the Shire Hall Care Home in Cardiff on Aug. 5. Photo: © Jonathan Buckmaster - WPA Pool/Getty Images

"I am equally excited and thrilled each time The Duchess wears a piece of my jewelry, I am so grateful. My Grandmother and Grandfather are also equally excited and thrilled and have been purchasing every magazine!

"The impact has been so huge for my small business. I have had many new international and national customers which has been so amazing, and I am so thankful for this. I currently operate on my own, however my Mum and Sister and Dad are currently helping me out due to an increase in orders. I am incredibly thankful for this opportunity."

She re-wore her Amaia non-surgical mask and red-and-white Beulah London dress during royal engagements on Sept. 15. Photo: © HENRY NICHOLLS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Kate and Prince William visited a few spots in East London on Sept. 15, including Beigel Bake, the London Bridge Jobcentre and the London Muslim Centre. She supported British fashion in a beautiful Beulah London red-and-white floral dress and Amaia non-surgical mask. Both pieces are things from her closet.

Kate previously sported the Beulah London Calla Rose Red Floral Shirt Dress ($946) during a virtual appearance for the Heads Together Mental Health Minute broadcast during COVID-19 lockdown in May.

Beulah London is a British brand that works with craftspeople from around the world to provide an alternative livelihood to vulnerable and trafficked women. It was created by Lady Natasha Rufus Isaacs and Lavinia Brennan.

The mom of three in a white Suzannah dress and Amaia face mask at Baby Basics UK on Aug. 4. Photo: © Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Amaia was founded by Amaia Arrieta, with the goal to bring children's Spanish brands to London, and it has its in-house brand, too.

Kate wore the same Amaia face mask from the job centre engagement to Baby Basics UK in August and during her and William's trip to Wales.

Besides bringing attention to independent businesses, the duchess has also cleverly recycled pieces from her wardrobe, which she has long been famous for. This includes bringing out old favourite high street picks, such as Marks & Spencer, Massimo Dutti and Zara options, for recent appearances.

In this challenging time, it’s really hard to be separated from family and friends. It’s also a time when everyone needs a beautiful escape. Here at Hello! Canada, we’re still busy creating the magazine you know and love, to spread positivity and provide some entertainment as a gentle reprieve from all the hard news. And with our new special offer for subscribers, there’s never been a better time to have Hello! delivered directly to your front door. Why not treat yourself, or someone you love, today?

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