As the one-year anniversary of the royal wedding of the century — well, so far — draws closer, there’s still no sign of the world’s fascination with the Duchess of Cambridge subsiding. Not that Catherine, aka Kate, notices. Although she’s indisputably one of the most photographed women on the planet, according to a royal source who spoke to CNN, Kate “doesn’t look at the cameras, but it’s not deliberate. She blocks out the media. She forgets they are there. She has commented several times after an event that she forgot the cameras were there.”
The same source noted that after a year of public engagements and royal appearances, Kate has been accepted as a “fully fledged member” of the family. Yet while Kate might be comfortably settling into her role a year after the wedding, the public’s interest is still as high as it was the day she got engaged to Prince William. She was not only a runner up for TIME’s Person of the Year in 2011 and included as one of the most influential people in the world in the recent TIME 100 list, but her effect on the fashion world hasn’t eased in the least.
Immediately following the royal couple’s engagement, the so-called “Kate Middleton effect” — almost any garment she appeared in sold out in a matter of days, if not hours — became a well-documented phenomenon. And it appears that effect is still going strong. During an official royal appearance with her husband on April 26, Kate wore a blue tweed Rebecca Taylor skirt-suit. Within 30 minutes, the outfit had sold out online.
Kate may often be praised for “reinvigorating the British monarchy,” but her impact on fashion retailers has been something of a mixed blessing. Obviously, increased sales are a boon for any business, but such is the force of Kate’s influence that many retailers reportedly find themselves struggling to keep up with the volume of orders. Which, inevitably, opens the door for counterfeits and knock-offs to fill the void, leading to lost sales.
As Kate continues to adjust to her role as a royal it would do retailers well to follow suit, as it’s clear that the Duchess and her sartorial sway aren’t going anywhere soon.