Duchess Meghan support made a huge difference to designer Pippa Small

Photo: Bang

Duchess Meghan support made a "huge difference" to jewellery designer Pippa Small when the former actress arrived on stage at the British Fashion Awards in December 2018 wearing the designer's fair trade gold bangles and stud earrings.

The former actress donned the designer's fair trade gold bangles and stud earrings - which were made in Afghanistan by craftspeople trained by Prince Charles' Turquoise Mountain Foundation - to the British Fashion Awards in December 2018 and the ethical firm instantly saw an "incredible" explosion in sales.

Pippa said: "It was absolutely incredible; it was suddenly like: 'We need more of this. It had such a direct impact on the workshop. They were absolutely thrilled. It couldn't have been more rewarding."

The eponymous designer credits the duchess - who was known as Meghan Markle - before her marriage to Prince Harry - for "opening up" a conversation about ethical jewellery to the wider public.

In an exclusive interview with HELLO!, Pippa said: "Ethical jewellery has become a conversation and I think the Duchess wearing it over the last year, without having to say anything, has brought that subject to a public who weren't aware. It has opened that conversation up. It's incredible. After years of trying, she's just blown the doors open. The impact on the workshop has been fantastic."

Pippa has been travelling to Kabul to meet the artists who make the distinct gold pieces for her 'Small Turquoise Mountain' line for more than 10 years and is proud of the way things are changing, particularly for women.

She said: "You weren't allowed to wear or make jewellery under the Taliban so it was a pretty dead industry. Now they have a job, they're well paid, they're safe.

"When the women started working in the workshop, they had a separate space and they were shy and kept away.

"Now you go and the women are bossing the men around.

"They're so ambitious. They're very vocal and very clear about what they want. It has really empowered them. People want to look after their families, to fall in love, have children, to have a job just like everywhere else.

"It inspires me to keep going because they are people I care about. And they love the fact their jewellery is being worn.

"That's why the duchess wearing a piece made such a huge difference. You can get the design or the price wrong or you don't have a successful season and that impacts on the artisans really quickly. So with something like this, it's given them the kind of growth that they really needed."

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