Incredible wealth and royalty are almost synonymous. And when it comes to fashion, we imagine that our favorite royal ladies have access to any and every designer we can possibly imagine. It’s no surprise, then, when we see them wearing designs that cost more than our mortgage. When we see the Duchess of Cambridge rock a Chanel ensemble at a staggering $17,277 or marvel at the Duchess of Sussex’s $75,000 Ralph & Russo engagement dress, our jaws drop and maybe, just maybe, our hearts feel the tinge of jealousy.
But with incredible wealth at their disposal and with designers clamoring for Kate and Meghan to wear their looks, both Duchesses (and all royal women for that matter) are incredibly careful of the pieces that they choose to wear. They are acutely aware of the brands and what those brands stand for. So while I may never be able to cough up $1000 for one single summer dress, I can appreciate the craftsmanship of the item, the story behind it’s brand, and the social causes that these brands champion. So let’s take a moment and dive deep into some of the brands worn by our favorite royals to see why they have made the cognizant choice to wear them.
Beulah London – Fighting Slavery Through Fashion
Beulah London has quickly become a staple in the Duchess of Cambridge’s closet. Whether it’s a beautiful prairie dress for Zoom calls or a more sophisticated day dress for royal outings, Beulah is known for their dreamy and romantic silhouettes. And how interesting that the word ‘beulah’ itself is a feminine name that translates to ‘married’ in Hebrew. Beulah London’s mission is to work with women in India by providing them with rewarding and dignified work opportunities that give agency. The elegant clothing produced by these women are also sustainably sourced. The organization has participated in the United Nation’s Blue Heart Campaign which sought to raise awareness about human trafficking and its greater impact on society. The participation in the UN’s campaign is not unique for the brand which regularly donates 10% of its profits toward ending modern slavery – a horrifying reality that is prevalent in the fashion industry.
The participation in the UN’s campaign is not unique for the brand which regularly donates 10% of its profits toward ending modern slavery – a horrifying reality that is prevalent in the fashion industry.
MISHA NONOO – Sustainable and Chic Women’s Workwear
Not only is Misha Nonoo a close confidante of the Duchess of Sussex who is rumored to have introduced Meghan to Harry in 2016, she is also the powerhouse behind her namesake brand MISHA NONOO. The Duchess of Sussex has worn her items frequently and even partnered with the company for the wildly successful Smart Set Capsule Collection in 2019. The MISHA NONOO brand is a sustainable one, too. When it first launched in 2017, it started as “on-demand” in order to eliminate “90% of the waste contributed by the traditional bulk production business model.” Even more, they also partnered with female-owned factories for production in China, eliminated plastics and used recycled paper for shipping, and utilized sustainable fabrications from natural fibers. We love the holistic and sustainable approach to fashion that MISHA NONOO has made core to its organization.
H&M – Fashion and Quality at a Great Price
It’s not a coincidence that Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden likes to rock an H&M look since the brand is a Swedish staple around the world. But just how sustainable or justice-oriented is this brand that we all know so well? According to their website, H&M continues to focus on sustainability and change in the fashion industry. In an impressive move for more transparency, H&M has made the clothing materials and the location of production readily available for customers to view for each item on its site under an item tab called “Product Background.” Even better, they note that their “business helps to create jobs and independence, particularly for women — consequently lifting people out of poverty and contributing to economic growth.” They aim to have 100% of products made sustainably by 2030 which follows the UN Sustainable Development Goals target date. They even present customers a 15% off discount when they recycle any clothing in H&M stores. Being in the business of fast fashion while trying to make ethical and sustainable choices can’t be easy. That being said, I appreciate the changes and efforts that H&M are making.
Zara – International Fashion
Queen Letizia of Spain is a fervent wearer of the international fast fashion brand, Zara, as it is a Spanish-owned company. Just like H&M, it’s hard to be a fast fashion mogul in an industry that is starting to focus on becoming more sustainable and just in their practices. In searching the Zara website, one can only find their agreement to abide by California state law: California Transparency in Supply Chains Act. Not for nothing, this act seeks “to prevent and mitigate the risk of modern slavery and human trafficking.” Other sources report that Zara has committed to using 100% sustainable, recycled or organic products by 2025. Considering the incredible impact and reach of Zara, it would be great to see it make transparency a bigger part of the organization’s overall mission.
It’s important to keep in mind that these initiatives are listed on company websites. Obviously, being socially responsible and environmentally sustainable are incredibly en-vogue right now. Of course, even good intentions and fully transparent plans don’t stop typical fast fashion practices like shadow manufacturing (where one manufacturer is “official” and maintains best practices but works with another manufacturer that doesn’t at all). If you want to do a deep dive into the transparency and practices of the companies that you shop, I highly suggest researching the Fashion Revolution Transparency Index which has boat loads of information.
With that caveat in mind and while I still might not be able to cough up hundreds of dollars for one dress, I’m a little bit closer. I’m a little bit closer because many of these brands are striving to do better for our world. Many of these brands are focusing on lifting women out of poverty, ending modern slavery, sustainably creating collections, and encouraging responsibility among both corporations and consumers. That is something I can get behind – even if it costs me twice as much.