Britain’s Prince Harry and his wife Meghan’s move to Canada could boost its C$30.6 billion ($23.3 billion) fashion industry, experts say, by putting the spotlight on local brands.
Harry, 35, and Meghan, 38, announced this month they were stepping down from their royal roles to protect their privacy and gain financial independence from the monarchy.
Canadian fashion commentators say they expect the “Meghan Effect” – where a brand sees a jump in sales after the Duchess of Sussex sports one of their products – to continue regardless of the couple’s future public roles.
“People just absolutely lap up whatever (Meghan) wears,” said Jeanne Beker, a longtime fashion columnist based in Toronto. “Designers from all over the globe have been clamoring to get their clothes on her body.”
Canada’s fashion industry has slowed recently.
Retail sales of clothing and accessories fell 2.1% in 2017 to C$30.6 billion compared with an increase of 6.7% in the retail sector as a whole, industry data showed.
Canadian designers are no strangers to the effect that the duchess can have on a brand’s success.
In 2017, Meghan wore a white wrap coat from Line the Label, a Toronto-based designer, in her first public appearance after her engagement to Harry. It quickly sold out – and the surge in interest crashed the label’s website in some parts of the world.
Toronto-based Sentaler, whose beige alpaca wool coat was worn by Meghan during her first Christmas with the royal family in 2017, has also experienced the “Meghan Effect.”
“Each time Meghan appears in Sentaler, the result is tremendous,” founder Bojana Sentaler said in an email. “We see increased traffic across all of our channels … and the style she wears as well as other similar styles sell out.”