The Meghan Markle Effect
Remember back in 2010, when Kate Middleton and Prince William stood side by side for that all-important photo op, Kate proudly displaying the engagement ring that previously belonged to Princess Diana, in a matching sapphire blue silk wrap dress by Issa? The small company subsequently sold out of the dress in more than 43 countries, and that moment was hailed ‘The Kate Effect’.
It’s been eight years and Kate’s continuing influence over British fashion can’t be denied – it’s already estimated she brings in an extra £1 billion to the industry every year. But since Harry and Meghan’s engagement announcement in December, ‘The Meghan Markle Effect’ is starting to take hold too.
It’s rumoured Meghan could surpass Kate in the style stakes thanks to her less traditional, more trend-led fashion choices that no doubt will appeal to a wider audience. And no one is feeling the effect of her sartorial influence more than the niche fashion brands she favours, like the tiny denim label Huit. Meghan chose a pair of black jeans from the Welsh-based brand for an official visit to Cardiff in January, and caused such a high demand that the company were forced to move to a bigger factory to cope with their ever-growing waiting list.
“The website went absolutely crazy,” co-founder David Hieatt told the Daily Mail. “We have a back order waiting list for three months. We are having two more people come in and we’re moving to a new factory. The effect has been remarkable.”
This isn’t the first time a brand has been hit by the Meghan effect. After visiting Nottingham for her first royal engagement with Harry, the little-known Strathberry leather handbag she was carrying sold out in just 11 minutes. At their engagement photocall, Meghan chose to wear the pure white Mara Wrap Coat by Canadian label LINE to address the press on the chilly winter morning – much to the surprise of LINE Co-Founder John Muscat, when the brand’s website crashed after being inundated with shoppers desperate to copy her style. After that, the ‘Mara’ was renamed the ‘Meghan’.
Such is the power of Miss Markle, she’s even having an impact on clothes she hasn’t worn yet. Since news of her highly anticipated wedding broke late last year, the brands that Meghan might wear on her big day have seen a significant surge in wedding dress searches. Lyst reported British company Ralph & Russo have seen a 82% increase, whilst searches for Erdem (42%), Misha Nonoo (79%) and Roland Mouret (38%) have spiked as people continue to guess who Meghan will choose.
Whether Meghan will take over from Kate as ‘queen of fashion’ when she becomes an official royal remains to be seen – but if she can increase the sales of a relatively unknown sunglasses brand by 1000% overnight, it’s a pretty good indication of what’s to come.
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