The Smart Set Capsule Collection helps prepare thousands of unemployed women for job success

One year ago, Smart Works announced the launch of The Smart Set Capsule Collection with The Duchess of Sussex.

Launched in partnership with four leading fashion brands; John Lewis & Partners, Marks & Spencer, Jigsaw and Misha Nonoo, the collection was designed to create a perfect working wardrobe for Smart Works clients.

It was inspired by The Duchess’ firsthand insights from her many visits to Smart Works, where she noticed that while donations were plentiful, they weren’t always the right choices or sizes.

The collection included a chic white shirt, an elegant blazer, well cut trousers, a dress that flatters everyone and the perfect tote.

For two weeks items were available on a 1:1 model meaning that for every item bought by a customer, another was given to help a woman get back into the workplace. Thanks to the decisive action of supporters, thousands of items were donated and have helped transform the Smart Works wardrobes across the UK.

With over 3,000 clients coming to Smart Works in the last year and 1,000 women taking pieces, the collection has proved to be invaluable.

In particular it has played an important role in ensuring the success of the new virtual service which was launched as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Pieces from the collection are regularly sent out to clients in care packages ahead of job interviews, ensuring they look smart and feel confident despite not being able to come to our centres.

To celebrate the first anniversary, The Duchess of Sussex sat down to speak to Karla, Charlene and Agnieszka, three previous clients, to 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.”

Whether it was through the face to face service or the newly launched virtual service, each client spoke about their successes and how Smart Works had helped them.

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.”

Smart Works CEO, Kate Stephens said:

“The Smart Set Capsule Collection has been a revolution for our wardrobes. When we meet a client, who wants to look chic and smart, we have four beautiful wardrobe essentials we know we can reach for. The collection has elevated the Smart Works experience for so many of our clients and the generosity of our supporters means we’ll be able to continue supporting women with pieces from the collection for the year ahead as well.”

The team at Smart Works would like to take this opportunity to thank The Duchess of Sussex for her continued support of our charity, the retail partners who came together to help create the original collection and the wonderful supporters who purchased pieces and helped fill our wardrobes.

Everyone involved has played a part in another woman’s success story and helped transform a life.