Duchess Meghan returns from maternity leave to launch her capsule clothing collection

And one item from the collection had already sold out online, before it had even officially launched!
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The Duchess of Sussex returned from maternity leave today to launch her brand new capsule clothing collection Smart Set, created to benefit the charity Smart Works, of which Meghan is the royal patron.

Meghan arrived to the launch at London’s flagship John Lewis store wearing pieces from the collection – a white button-down shirt and black trousers – and completed the look with a thin tan belt and matching suede pumps. She also wore earrings and a gold bracelet which belonged to her late mother-in-law Princess Diana.

Meghan made a dazzling return from maternity leave, stepping out in pieces from her own collection, and the special touch – two pieces of jewellery which belonged to Princess Diana. (Image: Getty)

The collection, which is in collaboration with UK department stores Marks & Spencer and John Lewis, label Jigsaw and fashion designer Misha Nonoo (who is also a close friend of Meghan’s), features five workwear essentials and for each item sold, one will be donated to Smart Works, which works to support women entering the workplace by providing resources such as interview training or clothing for work.

The pieces include a shirt from Misha Nonoo, a blazer and trousers from Jigsaw, a dress from Marks & Spencer and a tote bag from John Lewis – during her speech launching the project, Meghan revealed she had learned in the car on the way there that the tote bag had already sold out online, which was met by a big cheer from the crowd.

During her speech Meghan spoke about what inspired her to create the collection and her hopes to change the idea of charity to an idea of community.

“A big piece of this [project] is trying to transform the idea of charity to community,” Duchess Meghan tells the crowd, which consisted of members of the fashion industry, press and Smart Works clients and executives.

“And the way we do that I think as people, is we go into our closet as a woman and you say, “I’m going to make a donation’. You don’t go into your closet and just toss in a box whatever you don’t care about anymore – that’s charity, as we know it today.

“Community is going through your closet and saying, ‘This is the blazer that I wore when I nailed my first job interview and got my dream job and I don’t need that anymore because I’m where I want to be. But if I’m able to share that blazer and be part of another person’s success story’, then that’s community.”

The crowd cheered when Meghan revealed she’d just found out the tote bag had already sold out online! (Image: Getty)

She also spoke about her belief in the need for female empowerment and for women to work together to support one another, whether you know each other or not.

“Thank you for being here, for being a part of this success story for these women. I think it’s really key in this day and age to remember it’s not just about the people you know that you’re supporting, it’s about the people that you don’t know, you may never know, you may never meet,” she explains.

“As women I think it’s 100 per cent our responsibility, I think, to support and uplift each other to champion each other as we aim to succeed, to not set each other up for failure but to instead really be there rallying around each other and say, ‘I want to help you’.

“And you may never meet that person, but you’ll know that when you put on that blazer, or you put on that jacket or that shirt and you carry that tote or put on those trousers or that dress, that some other woman on the other side of this country is wearing that piece because you made that purchase.”

Meghan poses with women wearing items from the clothing collection. (Image: Getty)

Meghan first announced the project in her guest-edited issue of British Vogue, which went on sale at the beginning of August.

Meghan was appointed as the first ever royal patron of Smart Works in January, which Kensington Palace said was to “reflect the causes and issues with which she has long been associated with including the arts, access to education, support for women and animal welfare.”

The announcement also saw her become royal patron of the National Theatre, the Association of Commonwealth Universities and animal rescue charity The Mayhew.

Following one of her visits to the charity, one of Smart Works’ interview coaches Marina Novis told Hello! that Meghan was the perfect fit for the organisation.

“She has done so much research. That’s what I’m so impressed by. It’s not some honourary thing, she really cares,” Marina said.

“She’s amazing at talking with the candidates because she really listens and ask very pertinent questions.”

Duchess Meghan assists a woman with her bracelet, which she helped pick out during a visit to Smart Works. (Source: Getty)

While no other upcoming engagements have been announced for Meghan following her return from maternity leave, Meghan, Harry and Archie are set to touch down in South Africa on September 23rd, to begin their 10-day official tour of the country, along with brief visits to Angola, Botswana and Malawi by Harry.

The trip will mark the Sussexes’ first official tour as a family-of-three and make Archie the youngest royal to undertake a royal tour at just four-months-old.

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