The collection was informed and inspired by The Duchess’ insights from her many visits to Smart Works. She noticed that while donations to the charity were plentiful, they weren’t always the right style or size.

The Smart Set Capsule Collection was launched in partnership with four leading fashion brands; John Lewis & Partners, Marks & Spencer, Jigsaw and Misha Nonoo.

Designed to create a perfect working wardrobe for Smart Works clients, it brought together a powerful community of supporters, united in their desire to help empower women.

For every item bought during the promotion, one was donated to our wardrobe. This direct 1:1 model has meant that for every item purchased by a customer, another was given to help a woman back into the workplace.

We are delighted that the Capsule Collection is now in Smart Works Dressing Rooms across the UK, complementing our existing wardrobe and helping to ensure we have the right pieces available for our clients.

One year on from the launch, the Smart Set has been invaluable for clients receiving both our in person and virtual service. To celebrate the collection’s first anniversary, The Duchess of Sussex sat down to speak to three recent clients and see how their time at Smart Works has helped transform their lives.

Speaking during the meeting it was clear that all three women had felt the impact of combining a great outfit with personalised interview coaching.

“They really coached me and got me ready, I felt so confident … they sent out the clothes and they fit amazingly, I put them on and that was the last piece of just feeling confident.”” 

After listening to their stories, The Duchess of Sussex said:

“People can say that so much of Smart Works is about the clothes themselves but it’s really not … all of that stuff is the exterior but it’s what it does for you on the inside that ends up being the best accessory. It’s the confidence, it’s what is built within, that is the piece that you walk out of that room with and walk into the interview with.”

Meet Kate

Kate was referred to Smart Works ahead of her interview for an Office Manager role. She had been unemployed for almost a year and had applied to over 100 jobs during this time. Before her interview, Kate felt that she had “lost herself and lacked confidence.

Following her appointment, Kate got the job and is loving her new role.

“Smart Works reminded me of all the great qualities I have and why I am a great candidate” Kate said, and that her appointment “restored my confidence and reminded me that I can do it”.

“At Smart Works, you’ll experience people who are passionate about helping you not only to look your best, but to be the best you. It is an experience you won’t forget.”

Whilst wearing the collection, Kate said “my outfit made me feel like a boss – powerful and strong. It made me feel amazing and reminded me how far I have come and the future I have in front of me.”

Meet Zara

Prior to her appointment at Smart Works, Zara had been out of work for almost a year and had applied to nearly 20 jobs whilst dealing with difficult personal circumstances.

Zara was successful at her interview and got the job she currently holds as a Work Coach. Zara is a great ambassador of the Smart Works service when working with her customers at the Job Centre.

Zara said that her appointment at Smart Works was a “calm and positive experience.”

Meet Andrea

Andrea was referred to Smart Works ahead of multiple interviews. She had been unemployed for nearly 6 months and had applied to 10 jobs. After her appointment, Andrea said “for somebody who comes from a care leavers background, you don’t hear people compliment you every day and actually trying to help you. At my Smart Work appointment, I felt like a celebrity.

Andrea was successful at her interview and is working as an Admin Apprentice. She said that “the best thing about Smart Works is the people. It has given me a lot of confidence and I feel that every time I put on my coat, blazer or shoes on – that is the feeling I carry around with me every time I wear them.”

When wearing the Smart Set collection, Andrea said “The dress made me feel stylish and professional.”

Images by Jenny Zarins