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International Women's Day: Female designers discuss the impact of Duchess Kate and Duchess Meghan wearing their pieces

By Heather Cichowski

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By Heather Cichowski

Duchess Kate and Duchess Meghan have such sophisticated styles. Whatever clothes and accessories they wear, royals fans want to know. Often, they want to own the pieces themselves!

The "Kate effect" and "Meghan effect" are certainly true when it comes to fashion, so it can be a tremendous boost to fashion designers to have the support of the duchesses. Meghan and/or Kate wearing an item can put an up-and-coming brand on the map and make pieces sell out.

In honour of International Women's Day, we are profiling some of the female designers and brand owners that Kate and Meghan have worn previously. They have shared their stories with HELLO! Canada about what it means to have the duchesses as fans and how it has affected their businesses.

Scroll through the gallery (or click through if you're on desktop) to hear how Duchess Kate and Meghan's support has positively shaped female designers and their brands.

Photos: © James Glossop - WPA Pool/Getty Images, Samir Hussein/WireImage


Pippa Small

Duchess Meghan has worn various pieces from ethical London-based jewelry brand Pippa Small, including the 18kt Gold Aquamarine Triple Colette Set Pendant on Cord, which she sported on her and Prince Harry's 16-day royal tour in 2018 and to the couple's sit-down interview with Oprah Winfrey on March 7, 2021.

"I was very proud that the Duchess chose to wear our jewellery, once again showing support to small ethical businesses," Pippa Small, Jewellery Designer and Founder of Pippa Small Jewellery, ethical London-based jewellery brand, said following the interview.

She went on, "By choosing to wear the necklace, it brings the topic of more sustainable jewellery practices to the forefront."

The designer also discussed the impact of Meghan first wearing the aquamarine necklace in 2018.

"I was so thrilled when the Duchess chose to wear the necklace in Tonga in 2018.

"She has chosen to wear our pieces on a few occasions and in particular the collection we make in Afghanistan with the arts charity Turquoise Mountain, which provides training and employment for artisans in traditional craft."

Photo: © Karwai Tang/WireImage


Adina Reyter

"The first time I saw Meghan Markle wearing my earrings I was beyond excited!" said Adina Reyter of her eponymous jewellery brand. "Not only did she look stunning, (it was her first royal appearance) but she has access to the world's most amazing jewelry.

"The fact that she chose to wear our 3 diamond amigos curve posts was unbelievably validating as a designer. She is beautiful, capable, strong and inspiring.

"It was extremely meaningful that she wore our earrings in terms of both exposure for our business and sales. Our website immediately sold out of those earrings, as did every single one of our retailers.

"We sold out three more times in a two-month span, and these earrings continue to be one of our best sellers along with all of the other pieces she has worn since.

"With every single piece that I design I think about how women wear jewellery - it should make them feel happy and confident. Meghan encapsulated this, and we continue to feel her powerful effect on our business."

Photo: © Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images


Monica Vinader

"The first time The Duchess of Cambridge wore us was in 2014 at a gala event and it was a complete surprise," said Monica Vinader, founder and CEO of her eponymous brand.

"At the time, I was on holiday in Florence having a coffee at a cafe, when I spotted a man next to us reading a newspaper with a huge photo of HRH on the front page wearing our Riva diamond set.

"It was such a surreal moment – a huge honour – and one I will never forget! The set sold out immediately in North America, and buzz continued for weeks.

"Since then, she's worn us many, many times - often spotted wearing our Siren Wire Green Onyx earrings which have been a best seller for us since she was first spotted in them years ago.

"It makes me feel especially proud to see such a high profile women choosing to wear us repeatedly and highlighting the importance of sustainable fashion through rewearing favorite pieces."

Photo: © Arthur Edwards - WPA Pool/Getty Images



"Seeing Meghan Markle appear in SENTALER has been incredible for me personally as a designer, and for the SENTALER brand," explained Bojana Sentaler, the company's president and creative director.

"Meghan began wearing SENTALER as a single actress living in Toronto, and has continued to wear our coats and accessories throughout her move to the UK, her engagement and marriage to Prince Harry, and as an expecting and new mother.

"Each time Meghan has appeared in SENTALER, we have seen a tremendous response and increase in demand for SENTALER.

"She is beautiful and extremely influential, so for her to choose to wear SENTALER time and again has been truly rewarding."

Photo: © Neil Mockford/GC Images


Beulah London

"Recently, Kate wore an item of ours, which created 300 hours of work for vulnerable women," detailed Natasha Rufus Isaacs, co-founder of Beulah London. "We're delighted that the Duchess chooses to make a positive fashion statement by wearing Beulah London.

"On a visit to Port Talbot steelworks in south Wales earlier this month, she wore our Shibani scarf, which was made by one of our manufacturers that offers vulnerable women in India, Bangladesh and Nepal sustainable employment opportunities.

"The overnight interest in this scarf created nearly 300 hours of work for these women with a day of her wearing it."

Photo: © Samir Hussein/WireImage



"Seeing Meghan Markle wearing Suetables was a dream come true," explained the brand's owner and designer, Sue Henderson, who runs the all-female, Canada-based company. "Knowing Meghan can wear any brand in the world, it means so much that she supports smaller, less-known brands and women in particular. It says a lot about who Meghan is as a person.

"The photos of Meghan wearing Suetables, thrust us on the international stage. Over 40 articles have been written world wide about us. Last week we were featured in the South China Morning Post!

"Online sales are up over 150%. Visitors to the web site increased over 700%. We used to mainly ship mostly within Canada. Now we are truly an international business with orders going to the US, France, Germany, Australia, Japan, Czech Republic and much more. It is so exciting!

"Suetables designs, creates, curates and hand stamps (on the spot) jewellery that celebrates family and loved ones. I love that Meghan Markle chose our little brand to keep Prince Harry and baby Archie close to her heart [with the Vanessa Coin Zodiac Charms - Silver & 10k Gold]."

Photo: © Facebook/Downtown Eastside Women's Centre



"It was an absolute honour to see her carrying our Strathberry Midi Tote, during her first engagement with Prince Harry," said Leeanne Hundleby, Strathberry’s owner and co-founder.

"We were also delighted she chose to carry the East/West Mini while visiting our hometown Edinburgh, and then her outing in Dublin was a very special one for me, being from the Emerald Isle myself.

"Immediately after the event, sales increased considerably (200-300%) which was amazing for us. Visitor numbers on the website were also great and, at one stage, they were up tenfold against our daily average.

"Before Meghan Markle, we had already started to get some international recognition, but her support was crucial and definitely helped to elevate Strathberry.

"It has been such a fantastic journey for us and the brand's growth has been phenomenal.

"The team has also expanded, and we now employ over 40 people in our Edinburgh Headquarters with smaller teams working in Spain, London and China.

"She is an inspiring role model, who has advocated for women’s rights throughout her whole career, and seeing her with our designs was simply wonderful. It was a true honour to have such an empowering and empowered woman choose to support us as a smaller British brand.

"We have since decided to take a more active role in supporting gender equality as a company.

"Last year, we were delighted to announce our partnership with Women for Women International, a wonderful charity supporting marginalised women who live in some of the world’s most dangerous places, and are survivors of war."

Photo: © James Glossop - WPA Pool/Getty Images



"When Meghan Markle first showed interest in my line, it was such an exciting time for us, and that was before she was engaged to Prince Harry," revealed Nina Kharey, Creative Director of Nonie, a Canadian brand made in Calgary.

"It wasn’t until after they were married, she made her support for us public. It was quite an honour!

"Having a woman who fearlessly listens to what’s right for her and her family wearing a piece I designed is dream.

"This is why designers love to create. We love to help women be the best version of themselves. I'm honoured to have her believe in my design not once, but twice."

Photo: © Samir Hussein/WireImage



"It was wonderful seeing the Duchess of Cambridge in another Eponine design the other day," said Eponine Founder and Creative Director Jet Shenkman, referencing Kate's look from Feb. 25, 2020 when she attend a performance of Dear Evan Hansen at the Noël Coward Theatre in London.

"She doesn’t wear a lot of black, nor do we often use black in our collections, which made the look even more striking.

"I loved how she paired the dress with the silver sparkly Jimmy Choo courts and clutch.

"Having the Duchess as a client is a great honour and when she first wore Eponine in 2016 it transformed our tiny business overnight with orders pouring in from all over the world.

"At that time we were still working from a tiny studio in the basement of my house. We were totally unprepared: the fabric was not in stock and had to be re-woven, I had to find additional tailors, answer hundreds of emails and had to cancel a planned family trip. It was the happiest and most exciting time!

"We somehow managed to fulfill each order, answer each enquiry and sighed a massive sigh of relief when the last suit was posted!

"We haven't looked back since and moved into our own studio, with showroom, in September 2017."

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