Canada's fashion industry hopes for royal boost with arrival of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

OTTAWA/TORONTO, Jan 28 (Reuters) - 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.

21 PHOTOS
Shop: Shoes worn by Meghan Markle
See Gallery
Shop: Shoes worn by Meghan Markle

Birdies The Starling Flat, $95

Meghan has been spotted wearing these shoes several times over the years, including on her royal tour of Morocco.

See Meghan's full look.

BUY IT

Sam Edelman Sally Flat, $99.95

Meghan wore the Sally flats while in Cape Town, South Africa to celebrate Heritage Day with the locals and visit the first and oldest mosque in South Africa.

See Meghan's full look.

BUY IT

Castañer Carina 80 Canvas Wedge Espadrilles, $120

Meghan kicked off her royal tour of Africa wearing these wedges not once, but twice. She also wore them on a royal tour of Australia.

See Meghan's full look.

BUY IT

Rothy's The Point Black Solid, $145

The duchess wore the sustainably-made shoes (they're made of recycled water bottles and washing machine-friendly!) on a beach in Melbourne, Australia and is reportedly obsessed.

See Meghan's full look.

BUY IT

Veja V-10 Leather Low-Top Sneakers, $150

Meghan wore these sustainably-made cool girl sneakers while sailing across the Sydney Harbor in Australia. (The brand immediately rose in popularity, of course.)

See Meghan's full look.

BUY IT

Everlane The Editorial Slingback, $155

Meghan paired these chic Everlane flats with a navy blue shirt dress from Aritzia while in South Africa.

See Meghan's full look.

BUY IT

J. Crew Sadie Ankle Boots, $178

The Duchess of Sussex wore these affordable (and often on sale) J.Crew booties while deplaning in Australia back in 2018, just after announcing her pregnancy.

See Meghan's full look.

BUY IT

Adidas Ultraboost Running Shoe, $180

Meghan wore Adidas Ultraboost Running Shoes as she exited The Mark hotel in NYC after attending her baby shower.

See Meghan's full look.

BUY IT

Stuart Weitzman The Brooks Bootie, $199 (Orig. $598)

Meghan knows good booties when she sees them! She wore these stunners in Morocco while visiting with the Moroccan Royal Federation of Equestrian Sports.

See Meghan's full look.

BUY IT

Brother Vellies Summer Huarache, $225

Meghan has wore these shoes a few times, including to a polo outing during her maternity leave and while on her royal tour of Africa.  

See Meghan's full look.

BUY IT

Sarah Flint Perfect Pump 100, $355

For her first solo outing with Queen Elizabeth II in 2018, Meghan opted for a favorite pair of classic black pumps by Sarah Flint. She's since worn them a few other times in other colors.

See Meghan's full look.

BUY IT

Stuart Weitzman Nudistsong Ankle Strap Sandal, $398

Meghan has been spotted wearing these classic heeled sandals in several colors. She wore them in black with a navy sequin gown to see Cirque du Soleil with Prince Harry in 2019.

See Meghan's full look.

BUY IT

Tamara Mellon Paramour, $495

Meghan loves a Tamara Mellon shoe! She paired these ones with an Altuzarra pinstripe dress for her first event on behalf of the royal family, just one month before marrying Harry!

See Meghan's full look.

BUY IT

Manolo Blahnik BB Suede Pumps, $665

Meghan is a big fan of her Manolo Blahnik pumps, presumably because they go with everything. She has been spotted waring them several times; she has them in black, navy, tan, white and brown. Catch her wearing them to events like to the launch of her Smart Works collection and to cheer on her friend, Serena Williams, at Wimbledon.

See Meghan's full look.

BUY IT

Aquazzura Pointy Toe Flat, $695

Meghan often wears Aquazurra heels, but she wore a flat version of her favorites to a New York Yankees versus Boston Red Sox baseball game in London. 

See Meghan's full look.

BUY IT

Sarah Flint Marina Boots, $695

Meghan wore these stylish boots with a floral Oscar de la Renta dress while visiting the Old Vic theater in Bristol.

See Meghan's full look.

BUY IT

Tamara Mellon Kindred Mid Calf, $695

The Duchess of Sussex stepped out for dinner in NYC ahead of her baby shower with gal pals Serena Williams and Jessica Mulroney in these stunning calf hair boots.

See Meghan's full look.

BUY IT

Aquazzura Pointy Toe Pump, $750

Meghan is such a fan of these pumps, she also has the flats version. She was first spotted wearing them in June 2018 at a banquet for young leaders at Buckingham Palace. 

See Meghan's full look.

BUY IT

Balenciaga Square Knife Pumps, $950

For her first Royal Ascot, Meghan channeled "My Fair Lady" in a white dress, black hat and these sharp pointed Balenciaga pumps.

See Meghan's full look.

BUY IT

Tabitha Simmons Black Kiki 75 Velvet Ankle Boots, $825

Just a few months before becoming a duchess, Meghan wore these black velvet booties while visit Wales with Prince Harry.

See Meghan's full look.

BUY IT

Victoria Beckham Knee High Leather Boots, $2,534

For Christmas Day with the royal family in 2018, the Duchess of Sussex wore Victoria Beckham head-to-toe, including these tall leather boots.

See Meghan's full look.

BUY IT
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

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."

Meghan has shown an affinity for highlighting more local, independent brands, said Gail McInnes, owner of Magnet Creative Management, a Toronto-based fashion management company.

This preference may favor Canada's fashion industry, which tends to use small production teams made up of locally hired staff.

"It's almost like (being) an unofficial Canadian fashion spokesperson," McInnes said. "She's going to impact the lives of so many people by simply wearing a dress."

With many Canadian designers being forced to move to the United States in order to survive, "it's unquestionable that if (Meghan) is out there waving the flag a little bit more for our local fashion industry, that she'll bring more attention to it," Beker said.

Harry, too, has his own distinct influence.

"He's definitely going to be an inspiration for a global style for menswear as well," said Roger Gingerich, a fashion broker who has spent nearly four decades in Canada's industry.

The country's diverse climate and frigid winters have helped make Canada a global leader in outerwear and will broaden Harry and Meghan's fashion options.

"You cannot find a more perfect country than Canada where we have truly four full seasons," Gingerich said.

Fashion experts remain hopeful public fascination with Meghan and Harry will shine a brighter light on homegrown brands, even though the couple's move to Canada is driven by a desire to step out of the spotlight.

"She's the most famous woman in the world," McInnes said of Meghan. "All eyes are on her." ($1 = 1.3142 Canadian dollars)

(Reporting by Moira Warburton in Toronto and Kelsey Johnson in Ottawa; editing by Heather Timmons)

Read Full Story
  • DJI29374.47142.280.49%
    NASDAQ9820.9988.240.91%
  • NIKKEI 22523400.70206.900.89%
    Hang Seng27655.81125.610.46%
    DAX13776.3995.200.70%
  • USD (PER EUR)1.080.00000.00%
    USD (PER CHF)1.02-0.0004-0.04%
    JPY (PER USD)111.021.16901.06%
    GBP (PER USD)1.29-0.0053-0.41%