COLUMN: Meghan Markle’s fashion influence is more prominent than ever

Meghan Markle has had a major influence on the fashion industry, but with the recent exposure of the royal family, her style has only become bolder and more influential.

Isabelle Marak is a freshman journalism major at MU. She is an opinion columnist who writes about campus events, lifestyle and the arts

Meghan Markle’s unique fashion choices have inspired people across the world. From being a prominent Hollywood actress, to changing her title to The Duchess of Sussex, her style has impacted trends on what clothes are worth purchasing.

Markle was named the world’s most powerful fashion icon in 2019. With the recent exposé on the royal family in an interview with Oprah Winfrey, her influence in the world of fashion will only increase.

Her impact on the fashion industry has widely become known as the “Meghan Markle effect” due to the chaos that ensues from high numbers of people shopping for her looks at once. Economists at Brand Finance predicted in 2018 that consumers would spend roughly £150 million copying her style in the days leading up to her famous royal wedding.

Her fashion choices can make or break a brand.

Over the past few years, she has worn clothing from many different designers and stores, including but not limited to: Givenchy, Stella McCartney, Roland Mouret, Marks & Spencer, Jigsaw and J. Crew. Typically, royals stick with a handful of distinct clothing brands but can still venture out. Markle is known for popularizing the Stella McCartney name after she wore one of her dresses as her second wedding day look. McCartney established her name in the early 2000s, but Markle boosted the brand’s presence with her strong fashion influence.

Markle’s fashion style has proven to be more influential than Kate Middelton’s, the Duchess of Cambridge. At the 50th anniversary of Prince Charles’ Investiture at Buckingham Palace, Markle wore a gold brocade dress. Within 24 hours, that dress triggered a 500% increase in demand.

Back in 2019, research indicated that for each garment Markle wore, there was a 216% spike in searches for similar looks. However, The Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middelton, only had a spike of 119%, according to Marie Claire.

This difference highlights the influence Markle’s style has on the fashion industry and consumers’ buying habits. However, with the recent exposure of the royal family, and her resignation from royal life, her fashion style is now more important than ever.

During her days as the Duchess of Sussex, she had a very distinct style with restrictions imposed by the royal family. For example, she was required to dress in the patterns, colors or clothing of a local designer of the country she visited. The clothing change is a universal sign of respect.

Presently, she has more freedom with her clothing because she is no longer monitored by the royal family. Markle’s newfound liberty was showcased in her recent interview with Oprah Winfrey, where she made the choice to wear a black Armani dress with lotus flowers climbing her shoulder.

Markle is widely known to wear garments with a hidden meaning, and the lotus flowers almost spoke louder than the interview itself. Lotus flowers have the prominent symbol of rebirth, which sent out a clear message to all viewers back at home: she is finally free again.

Her day-to-day clothing choices since exposing the royal family have been more playful and normal. Instyle commented recently on Markle being spotted in a green “boho” dress by the New York label La Ligne.

“The olive green boho dress, with its smocked silk bodice and tiered skirt, is the most L.A. look we've seen on the duchess in some time, perhaps suggesting that when she isn't exposing the messy underbelly of the British monarchy for an audience of millions, she'll embrace a more relaxed look, something that can be worn with bare feet on the grass,” according to Instyle.

When she was the Duchess of Sussex under the watchful eyes of the royal family, she became an unreachable idol for women across the world. The clothes she wore sold out days after she wore them because people wanted to be more like her.

Now, she is no longer royalty but is more inspiring than ever. Her boldness to leave British royalty and expose the unresolved issues of the family has made her one of the most influential women in the world. With her return to her unique style, the clothing she wears is more available and personable for her loyal fans.

“Her next chapter, like the two behind her, is likely to bring with it its own set of joys and challenges — and, if we're lucky, a catwalk's worth fashion inspo,” Sam Reed wrote in Instyle.

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Edited by Sofi Zeman |

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