For months and months, the biggest question in fashion has been “What wedding gown will Meghan Markle wear to marry Prince Harry?” As Meghan stepped out of a vintage Rolls-Royce Saturday morning to ascend the steps of Windsor Castle and walk down the aisle to her groom, all eyes around the world were on her and the hand-made, one-of-a-kind Givenchy gown falling elegantly from her shoulders. In royal life and long before, Meghan has always been known for her sense of style, and as is the case with every royal bride, as much attention is paid to her style as it is to her humanitarian work and lifestyle. With such an impeccable sense of style, and considering that she’s being dressed by the best of the best around the world, we should be paying attention to what she’s wearing. After all, people like her are often who determine what many of us end up wearing.
However, as is the case with all aspects of fashion, what Meghan chooses to wear is so much more important than what the clothing looks like. Where each garment comes from, who makes each garment, and what resources are used to make each garment are crucial in considering what to wear. Whether you're a fan of her style or not, Meghan Markle should absolutely be an inspiration and fashion icon to many, particularly because she cares deeply for each of these considerations and makes huge statements with many of her ensembles that go far beyond their exterior aesthetics.
As every royal occasion requires the perfect ensemble, the pressure for Meghan to wear the right clothing must be quite high. But as someone who has been speaking out about equality and women’s rights from a very young age, the fact that Meghan would often choose to wear clothing of thoughtful designers is no surprise. On many occasions, Meghan has worn ensembles by vegan and sustainability-advocating designer Stella McCartney. The very reception dress that Meghan wore after marrying Prince Harry was a Stella McCartney original. Meghan’s wedding dress was also incredible, and for more reasons beyond the way she looked in it—the Givenchy one-of-a-kind was designed by the first ever female director of Givenchy. As an avid feminist, it is no surprise that Meghan would decide to have the most important garment of her life created in such a way.
The very simple truth is that the fashion industry needs to change, and it needs our help. In the past decades, the path of the industry has taken an extremely sharp turn toward toxic fast fashion, which is monopolizing the industry to the point of world-wide destruction at the cost of the planet, people, and animals. For many people, “sustainability” is a huge word that means a little too much to comprehend. Just like anything else that will yield positive changes, practicing sustainability takes time, effort, and dedication. Sure, not all of us are wearing Stella McCartney on a daily basis, but there are other ways. Pay attention to where clothing comes from, who is making it, and what your purchase of a garment (whether $5 or $55) will really cost in the long run. Make the effort to research different brands that use organic resources and fair labor. Pay attention to brands, whether up-and-coming or already established, that work for women’s rights and human rights. Shop vintage! Use the history of style and clothing to inspire how you view modern fashion, and change your shopping practices to eliminate fast fashion and its cruel consequences.
An absolutely amazing documentary that I highly recommend to anybody is called “The True Cost.” Just over an hour and a half in length, the depths of the fashion industry and its darkest, goriest secrets are explored, from the very beginnings of the production stage in cotton fields in Texas, to working conditions in factories in Bangladesh, Cambodia, and Haiti, to the consumption stage in retail stores around the world, and even to what happens to these non-recycled garments when we mindlessly throw them away. This documentary will open your eyes and at times leave you speechless.