The Duchess of Sussex has been praised for being the driving force behind an “amazing initiative” in which high street shoppers support unemployed women through their purchases.

At the flagship London store of John Lewis and Partners – one of the project’s retail partners – Meghan launched the Smart Set capsule collection for Smart Works, a charity that provides training and interview clothes to women.

She had earlier suggested unemployed women would be boosted with “confidence and support” whenever a shopper bought an item from the collection, because for every piece purchased one will be donated to a Smart Works client.

Meghan, who is Smart Works’ royal patron, approached a group of retailers and her designer friend Misha Nonoo to create a collection of timeless work pieces as she realised the right sizes or items were not always available for the charity’s clients.

Kate Stephens, chief executive officer of Smart Works, said: “It’s just the most amazing initiative.

The Duchess of Sussex launches Smart Works capsule collection
The Duchess of Sussex (far left), with (from left) Zara wearing The Smart Set shirt & trouser, Andrea wearing the Smart Set dress and Kate wearing The Smart Set jacket, shirt & trouser (Jenny Zarins/PA)

“We need to have these wardrobe staples to give to our clients so they’ve got the right clothes to go for interviews, especially in a range of sizes.

“It’s a new kind of charitable endeavour, really bringing together brands from across the sector to launch this campaign.

“It’s incredibly generous of them but also really exciting – it’s almost like a new community of brands and retailers and the customer.”

The Duchess of Sussex launches Smart Works capsule collection
The Duchess of Sussex arrives to launch the Smart Set capsule collection at John Lewis (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

The collection includes items from an elegant blazer and well-cut trousers by Jigsaw to a tote bag that fits all the essentials needed for an interview from John Lewis and Partners.

A classic dress, flattering to all sizes from Marks & Spencer, and a crisp white shirt from womenswear designer and the Meghan’s friend Ms Nonoo, also feature.

The duchess launched the collection from the store’s sixth floor open-air terrace, where the clothes and accessories were on display as part of a reception.