Meghan Markle knows the power of her fashion choices – anything she wears instantly turns to gold – but recently, the emphasis on fashion has been criticized as a distraction from the real issues. As fashion bloggers, and as women with a passionate interest in sartorial politics and design, we know that simply isn’t true. Fashion can be a powerful tool to bring about change, be a force for good, and promote the important causes. There is truly no better example of this power out of Meghan Markle’s closet than DeMellier. Meghan carried DeMellier’s ‘Mini Venice’ bag in February 2018, quickly launching the crossbody design into iconic MirrorMeg status. The forest green bag became a favorite of royal fashionistas and fans of Meghan Markle’s style, and the style sold out several times.The countless bags sold were not just fashionable additions to our wardrobes, they also funded a set of vaccines or medical treatment for a child in need. Through the permanent charity initiative, A Bag, A Life, DeMellier funds life-saving vaccines and medical treatments aimed to save the life of a child in need, in collaboration with international charity SOS Children’s Villages and local vaccine providers. Mireia Llusia-Lindh, DeMellier’s Founder & Creative Director, created the brand with giving back as a core value. “Millions of children around the world don’t have the same luck [as Mireia’s family] and are dying from preventable diseases at a terrifying rate, so she as a mother of three, aunt and godmother, Mireia felt like helping these orphans and unsupported children was an incredibly worthy cause,” shares Adele Durlicq, a representative from the company. To date, DeMellier has funded over 100,000 vaccines and medical treatments. The connection between fashion and giving back has never been stronger than it is today, when international human rights issues have come to the forefront of conversation. Every purchase made sends a message – what kind of brand are you supporting? What are their values? What do they support? In light of the recent events in America and throughout the world, brands have stepped up to voice their support for the Black Lives Matter movement. DeMellier has always embraced diversity, and uses their platform to set an example for other brands and generate a positive conversation for change. In a conversation with the brand, Durlicq shares DeMellier’s experience: “[We] wanted to do more, so we made a donation [to the Black Lives Matter movement] and took a pledge to continue to celebrate, foster and value diversity; to support and empower people of colour in every part of our business; to commit to actively fight racism on a daily basis by listening, continuing to educate ourselves and by being the change we want to see.”
These public declarations swept through the fashion industry, with brands making similar commitments to foster diversity throughout the industry – but it wasn’t enough. Buyers want to see measurable action from these brands. Like many other brands, DeMellier knew that they had to give back however they could. “Supporting Black Lives Matter by making a donation seemed like a very natural and concrete action to take following the terrible events that happened at the beginning of summer and the movements that emerged from it,” Durlicq shares. To support the Black Lives Matter movement and support its pledge, DeMellier donated a full day of turnover to the Black Lives Matter Foundation. In addition, their next campaign featured a beautiful Black model, showcasing their incredible handbags. These actions inspired other brands and individuals to make similar pledges – both financial and philosophical – to support diversity worldwide.Brands that give back can make a huge difference for the organizations that they support, but the truth is that the fashion industry is an issue in itself. Many outlets estimate that the fashion industry creates 10% of global greenhouse emissions, and 20% of water wastage worldwide. The industry has been a target of conversations surrounding sustainability and the climate crisis, and brands have had to take a hard look at their own contributions. Fast-fashion brands like Zara, H&M, and Forever 21 are often the first to take the blame, creating cheap clothing that quickly wears out. Brands with sustainability in mind know how important it is to create quality products, so you can buy one and use it forever. DeMellier echoes this importance by saying: “Our aim and mission is to do things differently: to create handbags that are designed by women, for women; handcrafted sustainably and with integrity and giving back through our A Bag, A Life charity initiative – all while looking great with beautiful, timeless designs and made of durable, high quality materials.” In short, you can buy one DeMellier bag, and it will outlive every bag being sold at Zara this year. In fact, DeMellier encourages and hopes to inspire other brands to do the same: “We think fashion brands can help raise awareness (and money) for causes that need it the most and be active players of the change we need to see. By making conscious choices and shopping responsibly with brands that commit to doing things in a better way and always striving to improve, everyone can reconcile their commitment to their own personal values, their wish to help or contribute to a better society and the pleasure of treating oneself to a beautiful item – which is also an important thing.” If Meghan Markle had not worn that elegant green crossbody bag, so much of the work that DeMellier has done wouldn’t be possible. “The British Royal family does the most amazing work to support emerging British brands and are the best possible ambassadors given the quality of their work and their global reach,” DeMellier’s founder Mireia Llusia-Lindh Adele Durlicq says. Thousands of handbags, delivered all across the world, inspired by Meghan Markle, have helped supply life-saving medical treatments, have supported the Black Lives Matter movement, have created sustainable fashion choices, and have been a catalyst for change within the DeMellier company, through the SOS Children’s Village program, and in our own homes and lives. “We have been very fortunate that different members of the British Royal family have chosen to wear some of our bags, helping raise our brand awareness in different countries. Something for which we will always be grateful.” DeMellier is a shining example that fashion is not just about a great outfit, or a cute handbag. Fashion can send a powerful message, and brands like DeMellier, and women like Meghan Markle, know the power that they hold. Our choices in which bag to carry can send a message around the world, and we can choose to support important causes, and work towards a better world, all while feeling the confidence of a great new handbag.