Now better known as Prince Harry’s girlfriend than the “Suits” actress she is, Meghan Markle is also a proven guest designer for Reitmans.
Initiated 18 months ago, the Meghan Markle collection is sold in select stores and online. Monique Brosseau, vice president of marketing and visual presentation, said, “The initial idea of developing a collection came from her. It was an amazing idea so our designers, who are all based in Montreal, worked closely with her. She provided her vision and her ideas of what could be a work-to-weekend capsule collection. They worked together to bring it to life.”
The American actress is also the creative force and founder of Thetig.com, a lifestyle site about food, travel, fashion and beauty. She serves as an ambassador for World Vision and a United Nations Women Advocate. “We all agreed that Meghan was a good spokesperson and ambassador, because she was aligned with what we stand for. It’s no nonsense, but she loves fashion. She’s very stylish. She’s not too young, not too old, she’s right there and she’s liked by so many women in Canada thanks to her ‘Suits’ contract,” Brosseau said. (The series is filmed in Toronto, which doubles as Manhattan.)
Markle’s signature faux leather pencil skirt looks like something her fast tracking paralegal character “Rachel Zane” would wear on the USA network show. Its new season starts Wednesday. That style along with a cashmere blend poncho and faux leather leggings have been bestsellers, Brosseau said. As of Tuesday, only the oversize shirt and faux leather leggings from her collection for Reitmans were available online, each retailing for $26 with a 60 percent discount.
Brousseau declined to say whether the American actress will make an in-store appearance as she did last winter in the Toronto store, or whether the collection will go forward. Markle has once again modeled the five-piece collection for the retailer. During the photo shoot, “she was not just there to wear the clothes and show off the clothes, she was there to give her two cents, how she felt and what she thought. It was a great collaboration at all levels from the ideation all the way to the execution of the campaign,” Brosseau said.
Given her exact whereabouts are chronicled in relation to Prince Harry’s, it’s not surprising that Reitmans is “very pleased” with its collaboration with Markle. “The feedback we have had from our customers regarding our association with Meghan Markle has been very, very positive, too. People come in and ask for the Meghan Markle collection specifically. Actually, some of them bought the whole collection. It was very well-received.”
As for how the media attention about her personal life has spiked online traffic for Reitmans, Brosseau said, “It did generate an increase online but you know that’s her personal life. We, as a brand, respect her and her life. We are staying away from anything relating to this relationship.
“Our site traffic in general is increasing at the time. It’s hard to specify which portion of that increase comes from the fact that we’ve associated ourselves to Meghan Markle. We do a lot of activities in store, online and through social media to keep our customer engaged and to bring new ones to the brand. But definitely traffic is growing and the level of engagement that we are seeing from our customers is also growing. So it’s all very positive,” Brosseau said.
The retailer did hint that there is more to come with Markle. “This is in the works. At the time, I can’t tell you what the projects are. I can’t say what the future is. I can’t unveil anything, but it has been a very, very positive collaboration. We are very pleased with it.”