How Meghan Markle Has Changed How Women Dress During Her 365 Days as a Royal

It's been about a year since Meghan Markle and Prince Harry announced their engagement in the gardens at Kensington Palace. Around that time, she wore a white wrap coat by Canadian brand Line the Label… and the rush of visitors to purchase the coat caused the website to crash. This is just one of hundreds of examples of the power of "the Meghan effect."

Sunglasses brand Finlay & Co saw a 1000% (yes, thousand) increase in sales thanks to the duchess. Net-a-Porter had a 176% increase in Veja sales the week Markle wore them and a 442% increase in sales of her black Castañer espadrilles. The impact isn't just in the week that follows a sighting, either. Her Strathberry tote and Charlotte Elizabeth Bloomsbury leather bag still have waiting lists months after she wore them. And the brand Outland Denim revealed it could hire 30 new seamstresses after Markle wore a pair of black skinny jeans and caused a 2300% increase in sales.

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Meghan Markle and Prince Harry in their engagement photographs.

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Meghan Markle in her Finlay & Co sunglasses.

According to fashion search engine Lyst, on average a brand she wears sees a 200% increase in searches, so Lyst crowned her the third-most influential celebrity of the year (behind Kim Kardashian West and Kylie Jenner). Clearly aware of the impact she can have with a pair of jeans or shoes, Markle is careful to select brands that align with her own personal messaging.

The duchess has adopted the royal trick of wearing British designers to boost the local fashion industry—from M&S to a gown from London's couture house Ralph and Russo—but she is also carefully promoting a sustainable message too, and not simply by avoiding throwaway trends and forming a classic, timeless style. She has worn brands with an ethical standpoint. On her royal tour she wore a striped dress by Reformation and a pair of trainers by vegan, eco French label Veja. Stella McCartney, a leader in sustainable luxury, has become one of Markle's most trusted dressers since she became a royal. The designer created her second wedding dress and has since been her go-to for a number of official visits.

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Meghan Markle with a Charlotte Elizabeth handbag. 

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Meghan Markle in sustainable brand Reformation.

Meghan is wearing pieces that won't just benefit established, giant retailers. She is maximizing on the potential impact by selecting little-known brands with a powerful message. The sustainable denim brand Outland, for example, is a company created by an Australian couple who manufacture in Cambodia and provide support and a career path for women who have survived human trafficking. She has worn handbags by Givenchy and Gabriela Hearst, but then she also carried a leather bag by Charlotte Elizabeth, a designer who launched her accessories brand when she was 21 and had been paralyzed for over a year.

Markle is certainly selling pairs of trainers and wrap coats by the thousand, but she's also promoting the message that we all need to be more thoughtful about where our clothes come from—as well as how long they will last within our own wardrobes.

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Meghan Markle in Stella McCartney.

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Meghan Markle in Outland jeans.

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