The Meghan Markle Effect: Her True Impact On the Fashion Industry
A bride holds hands with her husband, hours after saying 'I do.' Camera bulbs flash. Onlookers cheer. The newlywed, dressed in a dazzling white dress, smiles
On May 19, Meghan's life changed forever, and so did the fashion industry. The royal wedding resulted in internationally ground-breaking sales, websites crashing within minutes, and high street brands frantically beginning to manufacture copy-cat dress designs with impossibly tight
The royal wedding wasn't just a wedding—it was one of the most important unofficial fashion shows of the century.
Since announcing her engagement in November 2017, the Duchess of Sussex has made her love for fashion—its artistry and influence—perfectly clear. In the lead up to her wedding, economists at Brand Finance forecasted that Meghan would inject £150 million into the British economy as consumers attempted to copy her style.
In the last year, she's worn—and recycled—clothes from a variety of designer labels (Givenchy, Stella McCartney, Roland Mouret), and high street shops (Marks & Spencer, Jigsaw, J.Crew), alike. At times, she's put lesser-known labels on the map and, at others, championed companies with a focus on sustainable and ethical fashion.
So, just what are the implications of the 'Meghan effect'
SALES AND WEBSITE TRAFFIC
It's hard to put into words just how influential Meghan's fashion choices are to the world. So, let's put it into numbers instead.
According to global fashion search platform Lyst, searches for 'halter neck dresses' were up 40 percent following the royal wedding, while the term 'halter neck tops' increased 21 percent week on week.
"This was also the first time we ever saw such huge demand for the halterneck," Yasmine Bachir, Lyst's Senior Communications Executive
For Givenchy's creative director Claire Waight Keller, who designed the bride's wedding dress, searches for the brand increased 61 percent the following week.
As for British designer Stella McCartney, who designed the second bridal look for the wedding reception at Frogmore House, searches for her dresses increased 3,000 percent the day after (though this would have also been boosted by Amal Clooney wearing Stella at the nuptials).
But it wasn't just the wedding that boosted search, traffic, and sales.
In August, Meghan stepped out in London for a charity performance of Hamilton in a black tuxedo dress by Judith and Charles, which resulted in
"Royal influence on search and sales will continue to be a prominent force affecting our fashion choices," says Bachir. "We're still seeing Diana's lasting legacy as a
For several lesser-known labels, Meghan's decision to wear—or carry—their designs
We're still seeing Diana's lasting legacy as a trend setter
"We’re not a huge company and it’s the end of the season so we don’t stock a lot of these coats," Line The Label's co-founder and president, John Muscat, told WWD. "They are all handmade."
Days after Meghan announced her engagement in November 2017, Meghan made her first official engagement to Nottingham. Her accessory? A midi tote bag from Scottish-based luxury label, Strathberry, to complement her double-breasted Mackage look.
"I was in a meeting in the office and received a message from one of my colleagues," Strathberry co-founder and owner, Leanne Hundelby, tells ELLE UK. "Soon
Immediately after the appearance, sales increased up to 300 percent for the brand with
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ETHICAL AND SUSTAINABLE FASHION
During the royal's recent visit to Dubbo, New South Wales, Meghan wore a pair of skinny black jeans from sustainable brand Outland Denim.
Her decision not only sent the company's sales into a frenzy (its website traffic increased 3,000 percent
"Meghan's subtle yet steadfast adoption of our brand has had ramifications far beyond sales spikes and media attention," Outland Denim's communications director, Erica Bartle, tells ELLE UK.
Previous female employees of Outland Denim are known to have been able to put a roof over their families' heads, plant rice fields, and
"As someone who has been outspoken and women's empowerment, the Duchess had clearly done her homework about Outland Denim."
The Australian label Veja also recently felt the Meghan effect. During the Invictus Games, she chose to wear a pair of their V-10 trainers.
Harriet Vocking, head of marketing and communications at specialist sustainability constancy EcoAge, says Meghan's focus on putting ethical and sustainable brands on the map has
"In the past year, Meghan has helped re-align people’s vision of sustainable fashion," she explains.
"Previously, the term 'sustainable fashion' didn’t come with the best reputation. Now, when you see Meghan wearing something like the Veja trainers, which are made with wild rubber from the Amazon, you suddenly
Previously, the term "sustainable fashion" didn’t come with the best reputation
Net-A-Porter’s Global Buying Director, Elizabeth Von Der Goltz agrees, telling ELLE UK: "It’s an incredibly important topic in the industry that everyone must address, so it’s great to see a prominent figure like Meghan championing this movement."
IMPACT ON BUSINESS
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Duchess of Sussex has recently been named as one of Lyst’s ‘Ultra-Influencers’ of 2018.
Her name might
Kim Kardashian has already told the world she gets paid in the region of $1 million per Instagram post, proving the pulling power just one nod of approval from the reality star can have for a brand.
But just how powerful is Markle’s influence
If Meghan wears a designer, that brand will see a 200 percent increase in search in a week
"On average, if Meghan wears a designer, that brand will see a 200 percent increase in search demand over the following week," explains Lyst.
Take Castaner espadrilles, for example. After Meghan wore a pair during her Australia and New Zealand tour, sales rose instantly by 442 percent.
Net-A-Porter, who stock a plethora of clothes from the former-actress’ chosen designers, have seen a distinct uptick in sales of her favorite brands. In the week after the Duchess donned Givenchy for her much-anticipated first wedding gown, sales were up over 300 percent for the French fashion house, and dresses accounted for the majority of sales.
In the months
Comparing 2018 in its entirety to 2017, brands she has repeatedly championed have all seen huge spikes in search on Vestiaire; Givenchy with a total of 371 percent, Aquazzura with 181 percent, Stella McCartney boasting a 200 percent increase, and Emilia Wickstead with a respectable 57 percent.
But it’s not just big businesses that reap the rewards of Meghan’s influence.
After Meghan wore a pair of Hiut jeans in January, it totally rejuvenated the company. A small Welsh denim brand, it had previously been forced to cut 400 jobs and move its factory to Morocco.
Now? Well, it's taken then an entire year to catch up with back-orders.
"And we have [had] to move
And Meghan is essentially putting people back in work, too.
"The plan is to get 400 people their jobs back," explains Hieatt. "To create an incredible company that looks after its
Even without an Instagram account, she's still clearly an "Ultra-Influencer."
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THE FUTURE OF OUR FASHION
It’s safe to say that where Meghan goes, the fashion-conscious follows. In practical terms, this means we need only look to her current wardrobe to gain insight into the future of our own.
When it comes to which new brands Net-A-Porter should buy from, Goltz describes Meghan's fashion choices as invaluable, comparing her influence on the same level as established fashion houses and multi-billion dollar social media platforms.
"We take inspiration from everywhere, whether it’s the runway, influential people such as Meghan, or even Instagram," she says. For smaller lesser-known labels she chooses to wear, it's likely they'll be a
"Meghan has made a huge impact on the way women dress," trend forecaster Kelly Harrington explains. "I think her classic pieces and elegant choices have made many women rethink their wardrobes and go back to dressed up and timeless looks."
Her classic pieces and elegant choices have made many women rethink their wardrobes
Earlier this season, ELLE UK’s very own fashion features editor, Sara McAlpine, and acting fashion director, Cat Callender, noted that ‘Subversive Conservative’, seen at Burberry, Prada, and Marc Jacobs, was one of the SS19 runway’s greatest trends.
"Everything is not quite what it seems with spring’s new bourgeoisie mood," they explained, detailing the trend is typified by, "subverting the tropes of conservative dressing."
Known for her simplicity, Meghan's silhouette and color choices have a similar nod of conservative rebellion.
Whether it's her love of halter neck cuts or propensity for ‘dressed-up styles’, we should expect to see these looks—think 'pencil skirts and skirt suit sets’—reflected on the high street and in our wardrobes.
"Simple, classic and timeless style
After years of Gucci-typified 'more-is-more' dressing, it appears the California-native might finally be swaying us towards more pared-back, considered ensembles.
The Meghan effect, quite clearly, knows no bounds.
This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.